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Category archive for: Aaron Baker

Honeycomb

Here is the dream where dust, gathered and blowing over the field,

turns suddenly against the wind and moves with the shape

of a body. Here the shape of a body forms and reforms as it crosses

the sky, and then you hear it, the hum of the swarm,

the resurrection of the will heard first by the forest saints who fashioned

skep-baskets of mud, dung, and straw to draw, hold,

and harvest it. The black globes of the bee’s eyes regard you

as the earth does, which is barely at all, an unflowering stalk

in the field. In April, you are no Oregon Grape, Willow or Cottonwood.

In May, no Poison Oak, Buckbrush, or Vine Maple. Here are the stacked

hives in the glade, row and white row of return.

Augustine declared evil an absence of good. But an angel guards the gate

back to the garden. Good is an absence, and here below

her gaze, life rises from the dust, root conspiring with raindrop, flower

with stamen, these tiny messengers passing secrets

between them. Soon now, autumn will arrive, the emergency be upon us.

Soon the combs will overflow with honey. Soon we pagan priests

must put on our accruements and enter the glade, fill it with the smoke

of our censers, bewilder the bees and blind the eyes of the angel.

from Poetry Northwest 11.2 Winter & Spring 2017More by Aaron Baker from the library

Copyright © Aaron Baker
Used with the permission of the author
on behalf of Poetry Northwest.

The Infernal Regions

Relax. No more the thinness of ceremony.

Largemouth bass at the bottom of Kapowsin Lake

grow still as his thoughts. No swish and silt,

no father and flail. And once perfectly still, they grow

even stiller. Nothing’s wasted, says the Lord of the Underworld.

Stillness is economy, and economy exchange.

While he could still speak, my father asked,

“How should I pray for you?”

The curled buds of the bracken fern form

a forest of question marks.

____

The backhoe operator shuts it down, raises two fingers

towards me and walks off in the rain. Dad’s settled

in for the ride, easy now in his pressed suit

and polished shoes. Heavy drops dimple

the freshly turned dirt. Rainbows of oil in the puddles.

What’s left is centuries of silence. Such perfect

repose. And potato salad back at the potluck.

____

Should we look for Orpheus among the living?

Should we look for Orpheus among the dead?

Father of riches. Seed the soil, smelt the ore.

We’ve put on our workboots. We’ve crossed into

mythology, crossed over. In the underworld,

grief is poor currency. Beneath the camus prairies,

the second-growth Douglas fir and three bodies

of water, an Atlas of darkness shoulders a

weightless world of light. In the underworld, grief is

the only currency, and music after prayers.

Said Archimedes, “With a long-enough lever

and a place to stand, I will move the earth.”

from Poetry Northwest 11.2 Winter & Spring 2017More by Aaron Baker from the library

Copyright © Aaron Baker
Used with the permission of the author
on behalf of Poetry Northwest.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.