Will Baker




Moccasin rile tribune

Hot, this the hot of my blood and the earth beneath my feet,
it swiftly. This lusty run through the throat of things.

I first find it in the rosin stripes across my uncle’s saw,
the grip of which rot and was dimpled through years of swamp
song and then hardened one day after a nothing sort of row
whose stomp and terrain are now mored than those of his first performance
and than those of his most sorrowful and than those of himself, uninstrummed.
This is not unlike his tombstone. It reads he was a good man
and he was, but.

In the orange knuckle of flatwater that even undisturbed swirls volitional
or galactic or with allowance for the possibility of both
in a barrow that’s gone unused all summer as my neighbor’s ethan snores
further weight the hot.

My brother gives me a honing instrument for my birthday. He’s seen
the nicks on my handbacks and palms, that some have scarred. So I cut well kindling
arrows and quiver them in my ribs. Hot, this the hot of my lantern body.

The pungent moss gangrenous on the white-barked trees
in my great-grandmother’s backyard and the nnnz of the horseflies that slap
the veranda screen, stapled, coming unstapled. Its wet in the twenty-years drought.
The nearby crick into which we throw branches and some of this bark
and at them throw stones and stones of concrete.

In a farmboy’s sternness to a brown girl, her thick wrapped tight and painted light.
Synesthesia and the churning of butter. Grey depot yellow in the afternoon.

Engraved in a pillbox jaw, irrigatory through mar tarns,
green under sediment orange, Thorazine orange,
and this the hot in brass as in aluminum:
With all my love, Evelyn.

Hot, this the hot of a woman’s breath on my chest and the age of it
scares me. And I am brought to the base of a lyrewood tree and its thrum
wrings my shoulders and my thighs. Under its smoothed branches I while
and listen for creatures who too here have whiled and when I hear none
I conceive some. And always soon from their whippoors I run.

To gardens African, Alzhulian, Appalachian, obliquely-vined and vibrous,
where for me merchants pungi their languid tongues to twine
with the viper balustrades over which they drape their wares.
In the pocket of a dress the blacks candy I know.

O that this all might sire in me a new, consumptive nakedness
to in agate banding nova patiently for it will
be years but though I will die and die naked
I will die differently naked; I must.

— 2012