Poems by Devreaux Baker

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Black Phoebe

by Devreaux Baker

From Canary Summer 2016

Devreaux lives on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in the Big River Watershed.

This morning waking alone in the cabin
the blue gray arms of sky just above
the bending trees pulling me up out of bed
to stand at the window bare feet planted
on bare boards praying without knowing I was
praying for all the living we have left to do
and somewhere the song of one bird someone
named Black Phoebe etched itself in a simple
line against the breaks in my heart and I whispered
this is a good morning for birds and bare feet
and for all the living we have left to accomplish
even though time is such a reckless car flaming
us always toward such unexpected dips and turns
but standing like this planted in the morning
I felt that familiar voice grass and yellow
fields speak calling me to go outside
and walk to the barn and from there
follow the path that leads with her face
of such indeterminate longing
all the way to the sea.


by Devreaux Baker

From Canary Spring 2016

What if we could pull back
every lost opportunity

every loss becoming a white bird
we cradle in our bodies

so we become receptacles
of transformation.

Imagine a field
cranes returning
to nest

and we are the light
they are flying

Nostalgia for the Rain

by Devreaux Baker

From Canary Summer 2016

It began with a tin roof
sounds like silver sticks
falling from air
a dash of bird feet
despair or love at all the edges
It began with a car
gleaming bumpers
wind shield wipers forming a pattern
of lost and found
the truth of the seen versus
the unseen
It began with a picnic
wicker baskets of fruit
grass still dazed from a sudden
It was spring
or was it fall
the brush of winter
woven into scarves
It arrived in the blue smell
at the base of clouds
became a dark thought
fell in torrents
released us from ourselves
It began with a mattress
on the cabin floor
the smell of wet pines
redwoods singing
in hidden groves
It came in a rush
unfolded wet knees
a vertebrae of desire
It began with your body
in the afternoon
the smell of rain
conjuring memories
silver sticks falling across
our shoulders
A dash of bird feet
on all the rooftops
of the world

The Taste of Rivers

by Devreaux Baker

From Canary Spring 2016

Open your mouth
I will pour the taste of rivers
into you

Navarro, Albion, Big River, Little Salmon Creek

The sand you taste
between your teeth

is the after-taste of river time
crossing and re-crossing paths

like lifelines you cradle
in the palms of your hands

The Albion tastes like moonlight
and cattails

The Navarro tastes like
wild sorrel and pine

Big River and Little Salmon Creek
taste like huckleberries eaten at dawn

If you fall asleep by the side of a river
you become part of the ebb and flow

from earth’s great aorta
and share the dreams of salmon

swimming home
through the blue-chambered heart
of this land.

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