Though winged, he walks on water.
Skates between elements,
skitters like thought through the cattails.
A snake slips unseen through the underbrush.
The forest shifts and sighs, once again won’t speak its secret.
Between the trees, my father glides
through sunlight, then shadow. Surface tension:
the strider rows forward
with middle legs, steers with back legs, grasps with forelegs the insect
on which he feeds.
Leaning into my reflection, my arched body is the fulcrum on which
all of this turns. The sun hollows the air, burns
it of all but the most essential sound.
Mud-slurp and leaf-stir.
And there, a contrail over the Cascades, the quick stroke of a master’s hand,
and through the high hush, the vessel itself an insect-spark on the burnt-in blue.
Copyright © 2018 by Aaron Baker
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission
Aaron Baker’s first collection of poems, Mission Work, was the winner of the 2007 Bakeless Prize in Poetry and the 2009 Glasgow/Shenandoah Prize for Emerging Writers. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, he received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Virginia. He has been awarded fellowships by the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and is an assistant professor at Loyola University Chicago.
Winner of the 2017 Barry Spacks Poetry Prize
“Posthumous Noon is a book of grief and its bearing. It is also a book of language’s largess and leaping—as all true poem-volumes must be—and a book of the treasure house of the living: of largemouth bass; of the eros of moths and of humans; of cities and fields, stories and waters. It is a book holding as well many kinds of migration: the migration of the body in illness, of love’s witness, of souls, of creatures, of aftermath. In word, music, and image, Aaron Baker confirms his book title’s promise: even amid loss’s darkness, the full dimensions of light cannot be kept from this world.”
“In these poems there is so much that will slake: the musical delicacy of the lines, their keen sensitivity and vibrant precision in rendering the natural world, and the ferocious interplay between faith and suffering. These poems resist as they pray…. And in the same breath as they yearn for mending, often these wondrous poems go magnificent and stark, and bravely turn away, refuse. Because in the end, just like me, just like this terrific poet, ‘You will be destroyed’.”