This fromDavid Baker's new collection, "Never-Ending Birds," available in paperback . . . at your bookstore. Support a poet today.
Somewhere they are weeds beside the long road
--lord of mishandling, lord unbefitting --
They are red ruined by rainwter or
the rust of a rebar tossed in disuse.
Nightengales name them across the chasm.
But not his one, who crooks her swollen finger
to stroke them,
to dowse them with a little drink ...
Somewhere they are weeds beside a long road
so potted by wagon whees it's ruined,
almost, for walkers pulling toward market.
Now she's lined her pocket with their clippings
and would fill another, had she another.
Which saints? She won't say. It's her name for them
in lieu of their names. She unpeels a few
petals, pale as crepe -- leaves in her good book --
My book calls them bare root, spice, papaver
orientale Turkenlouis, or meadow
variety red corn-poppy. They are
bred for ornament, oils, opium, food.
somewhere -- not here -- they are weeds to curse
beside steep houses, along stacked stone walls,
under the arthritis of olive trees.
And no one, not for ages, shall bless them.