Rouault, End of Autumn

By James Wyshynski

His suburb looks bred for carpet bombing —
the paths and alleys dissect it into avenues
of escape, the houses crop up like rubble,
their pale, oval doorways ringed in black,
mouths open, the thick brushstrokes flee
across the canvas: crazed steps dodging a string
of explosives. They lead the eye to one of two places:
a bald, crucified hill or a castle under
a bomber moon. Three figures are trapped
in the foreground, caught inching over
a central artery painted in the same flesh
as their faces. Not a single star to guide them.