- Blue Shift, and: Or
The day moon the spirit of the morningmore than the dim gray sun on the otherside of the sky the other color ghostcold color of snow on the horizontalSummit Street ten degrees his truck’s been parkedat the curb all morning next to the guardrailing around the dugout pit and pipesthe neighborhood in darkness then in lightdepending on his need to work or power upand heat our homes he goes back and forthfrom cab coffee and his sheaf of schematics [End Page 40] to the high side of the hole with a torchhe’s a ghost floating in the weird snow lighthe’s tugging his heavy gloves snapshis head again how lonely theuniverse feels and flips his eye-shield downto go to one knee flicking on the torchthat burns a carburized flame no biggerthan a marble at more than half the heatof the surface of the sun— [End Page 41]
He walks back from the window in half-shadowa half-shade himself who first called them shadeswho people the place bereft of long lifehe comes back he feels with the fingers of onehand the soft hem bed’s high edge to settleback my father now his bed his home orwe are walking now he is walking carryingme under starlight under willows sweptwith high wind crickets two whip-poor-wills farlike two bells one bell across the night hillsthese long hills I am so tired he thinks [End Page 42] I am sleeping who peoples the night riverriffle of water here over the newest stonesin the river all night to the other sideokay he says at last or I say okay goto sleep old man and when you waken onthe other side I’ll be there we’re there nowsee our shadows where they have been waitingas long as we’ve been here— [End Page 43]
David Baker is the author of numerous books of poetry, including Scavenger Loop (Norton, 2015) and Never-Ending Birds (Norton, 2009), which won the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize. He has received fellowships and awards from the Poetry Society of America, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He is poetry editor of the Kenyon Review and holds the Thomas B. Fordham Chair of Creative Writing at Denison University.