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Three Poems: Three Months Old Today, Coloring with My Daughter…, and Foundation

Brian Wallace Baker

Editor’s Note from Ian O’Brien: I first discovered Brian’s poetry through a prose poem he had published in the Lindenwood Review earlier this year. I was instantly struck by his voice and his imagery: he not only takes us to interesting places, but he often comes to them from a side-angle. He has an ability to get to the heart of something in an offbeat way, which I think gives his writing an originality. In these three poems, which I encourage you to read again and again, Brian captures tender, small moments of parenthood that, when returned to, unveil huge meaning. His poems, like photographs, offer snapshots not only of tiny domestic moments, but also whole landscapes of themes and ideas..

Three Months Old Today

your whirlpool eyes
         cannot gape wide
                 enough to immerse
  
 the fullness
          of your wonder
                  open your mouth too
  
 as wide as you can
          become a whale shark
                  inhale millions of tiny moments
  
 in this time
          before fishing boats
                  and giant hooks
  
 kick your way through
         cool salt and sun sparkle
                  of a brand new ocean

Coloring with My Daughter Twenty-five Years After a Friend Convinced Me I Couldn’t
Like a “Girl Color”

         long      buttersmooth arcs across
 the coloring book page      beautiful
                despite not remaining within the lines           beautiful
                        despite     not being the correct color
         for a cartoon dachshund
                        gosh isnt purple          beautiful
                 isnt purple the most    beautiful
                                 color in the world

Foundation

 My daughter reaches over her head and blindly
 selects from her mother’s drawer
 a trifold of thin cardboard, featuring a model
  
 without mole or fly-away hair,
 with cheekbones as sharp as ice shelves,
 whose lips half-bloom to kiss the air. Naked
  
 narrow shoulders slope down to the summits
 of narrow arms. A shallow chest descends
 to the northern borders of sand dune breasts.
  
 Inside hides a sampling of every acceptable version
 of female skin, even tones to clothe unevenness.
 My daughter does not unfold the cardboard. She studies
  
 the woman on the front like a map
 she cannot read, teetering on her tiny legs
 as if at the edge of a precipice. 

Brian Wallace Baker is a poet and essayist from Erda, Utah, who holds an MFA from Western Kentucky University. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Little Patuxent Review, River Teeth’s Beautiful Things column, Split Lip Magazine, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere. You can find him on Twitter @bbrianwallace.