Never-Ending Birds

Never-Ending Birds

That’s us pointing to the clouds. Those are clouds

of birds, now we see, one whole cloud of birds.

There we are, pointing out the car windows.

October. Gray-blue-white olio of birds.

Never-ending birds, you called the first time–

years we say it, the three of us, any

two of us, one of those just endearments.

Apt clarities. Kiss on the lips of hope.

I have another house. Now you have two.

That’s us pointing with our delible whorls

into the faraway, the trueborn bluewhite

unfeathering cloud of another year.

Another sheet of their never ending.

There’s your mother wetting back your wild curl.

I’m your father. That’s us three, pointing up.

Dear girl. They will not–it’s we who do–end.


David Baker, a professor of English at Denison and poetry editor of The Kenyon Review, has published work in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, and The New Republic. His ninth book of poems, Never-Ending Birds, was published by W.W. Norton in October, around the same time Baker celebrated 25 years of teaching at Denison. (“Never-Ending Birds” is reprinted here with permission from W.W. Norton.)

Published November 2020