Two poems by Niki Baker

Mantle

In fossicking
among abandoned memories
searching for the gleam of precious things
I have learned
to let my focus slip

I used to hunt for pearls
where I expected them to be
in the grand gestures and
scattered around the milestones
the places where everybody looks
and nobody finds

In the quiet spaces
the cracks between
that is where the jewels wait
stars at the edge of my vision

I see one
where I am safe and small in the circle of your arms
listening to the metronome in your chest

And other moments
as if emboldened by the first
come crowding
the scent of sawdust and oil
the knowledge of making and mending
curls of wood licking from the jaws of a plane
worn grips and keen blades
your thumb through the fragile mantle
of a gaslight
your hand on the back of my bicycle
and your voice
full of every emotion
keep pedaling
pedal

I rode away
left you behind
in the tender cruel way that children do
and the gifts you thought you gave me
are forgotten
but my life is filled with pearls and stars
from all the quiet spaces

 

 
Night rain

the city’s neon colours
blur bright
against a wet black canvas

every streetlamp
brags alchemy
haloed in raindrops

night slithers gutterward
while a gust of lamplight
pirouettes into a side street
and yesterday’s news
finding it has the alley to itself
waltzes for a moment
with the breath of the storm

 

 

Niki Baker is practically nocturnal, enjoying the world best when the stars are out and most of the people are in. She has received recognition for numerous short stories, poems and travel articles, and is currently seeking a publisher for her first full-length novel. Find her on Twitter at @NRBakerWriter

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