The First Person

By David Baker b. 1954 David Baker
What I wanted seemed little enough at the time.   
There was snow on the ground, grayish and sticking   
to the mud—the promise of plenty to come.   
Snow gathered already in the corners of sills.   
When she spoke what we had sensed for weeks

without saying, her voice fell clear, unwavering, soft   
as the day. It hardly had to do with us anymore.   
The crazy tilt of the carport across the alley   
was all I could see for awhile, the weight
on its wobbly roof like a terrible joke.

But that was wrong—that was wrong. Before long   
the snows shook down on what we had done.   
What I wanted was to ignore it all, sit there   
in stillness, shepherding logs to the fire   
while the old ones went pink to white to gray.

David Baker, “The First Person” from The Truth About Small Towns. Copyright © 1998 by David Baker. Reprinted with the permission of the University of Arkansas Press,

Source: The Truth about Small Towns (University of Arkansas Press, 1998)

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Poet David Baker b. 1954

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Nature, Winter, Love, Heartache & Loss

 David  Baker


Though he is known primarily as a poet of the Midwest, David Baker was born in Bangor, Maine in 1954. He spent his childhood in Missouri and attended Central Missouri State University before receiving his PhD from the University of Utah. He has won fellowships and awards from the Poetry Society of America, the Pushcart Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. Currently a Professor of English . . .

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SUBJECT Nature, Winter, Love, Heartache & Loss

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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