The Affair


Then the long fencerow, that years ago had
heaved and buckled, took on a copper shine
in the sunset, the dew. A garlic haze
of cut pastures simmered fields away.


They were flushed from sex—they were
traced with that other body, just parted.
They stood in the length of first fall waiting.
And their skin, that had been so willing,


delible as ash to a trembling fingertip,
became its own again. One star, three.
Nothing good was going to happen. Night winds
lifted themselves out of wheat rows and shook


off what had been done. So they turned
elsewhere. Her fingers gathered up her collar
softly in a bunch, and she put on a scarf.
It was not even cold. It was only cool.

David Baker, “The Affair” 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)
More Poems by David Baker