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DOMESTIC OF HOPE / David Baker a pastoral Where we live, where each green day blooms early in the born-again trees, lucent with dew —night-fog sheering away in the first shine— and so, loosed from its folds, spreads its crawlers out across our cup-shaped acre of yard, and catches hold, and where, by and by, our neighbor's old bell cow wobbles out of her darklong drowse to shake herself free of dust and gnats, her burden of debris, and heads back into the timothy fields, among cat-calls and a smarter of crows, and the first truck bangs its way down the dirt back-road toward town, where even the bucket-colored birddog no one will claim yips awake at our door step and wheels again—self-wound and punctual— instantly out of his head with chipmunks and jaybirds and hunger, and the grackles go on stuffing straw down our drainpipes and gutters, where we choose, all the same, to turn and live with these placid, ruminant beasts and rambunctious creatures, where their myriad and mundane sounds revive, and a salvation of light, so early, where the world yet breathes deeply, and the green days grow, 228 · The Missouri Review and our work does become, again and again, a blessing, a visible affection, a matter of love . . . David Baker The Missouri Review · 229 DOMESTIC OF TERROR / David Baker a confession Who can I tell this to? Even the barest dark breeze, easy out there in the stripped-down elms and dingy cedars, hits my screen door and seethes. It sounds like hunger. It could be rain. It could be a whole day's slipped away with nothing to show but a window bruised by drizzle and a year's black dust. How strange to speak myself awake this way to find the room the same, and light the hollow same, the same low terror simmering like gas in the left-behind kitchen and ticking in the sink's burnt pans. How easily could all this ruin be the replicant rain? She came in the dark and in darkness is gone. When did she go? Thafs what the clock asks now blinking its inchoate digits, counting its pulse from an obvious outage of power. Thafs what the clothes say humped in neglect, and the sheets steeped like old snow or blown sand or simply like sheets grainy and stained with the casual diseases and comforts of lovers. I tell you we stepped out of our lives. She knelt in the dark by the window and glowed from inside where I was. She held me for free and again. She lived for a time in my skin and somehow tore loose, like a sheering of silk, her ravenous fingers kissing my memory away. 230 · The Missouri Review She must have touched nothing, touching my face as she left. Not until now did I know. Has a whole day passed in this dark? Thafs what the wind says between its wiry teeth, and the tires sizzling outside in the rain like fire or soft cloth slowly ripping in two. What will I do if she doesn't come back? The sudden cat stiffens at the dumbcane and purrs where she's just shredded the season's one pale shoot. The rage for death was never stronger in her eyes, nor a hunger for cruelty, nor love. Who else could I tell this to? And what if she does? David Baker The Missouri Review · 231 ...


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pp. 228-231
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