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  • Blue Shift, and: Or
  • David Baker (bio)

Blue Shift

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

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.



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