David Baker (December 27, 1954 -)
Even the night cooling down is slick with heat.
Even the sheet we share like a humming skin.
From three stories up the sounds of the street,
drinkers at the curb, a wet hiss of dry tires,
is a rhythm through our box fan, like panting.
When we sleep it is piecemeal until morning.
Listen, the years are short. They are nothing.
I write each morning, while you are at work.
In the heat of day, I walk to the library, cold
water at the fountain, air-conditioned air; walk
with a new book back in the elm-lined shade.
At night I meet you at the top of the stairs.
Where are you gone, who loved me so long
one summer far from home? Days are long.
Even the heat is lovelier there, as memory is.
We make lemonade from powder. Little wonder
the years are less than a breath, like a song
on the radio heard as the rhythm of languor.
Whistle of the ice-cream truck. Drinkers at the curb.
Days and nights of heat, of sex, such tenderness.
When we sleep sometimes it is to dream of the days.
Where are they gone? Meeting on the stairs,
laughter and light, a small meal, a bottle of wine.
When we wake it is piecemeal, until we are gone.