STILL LIFE

WITH

WOOD SMOKE

Taylor Graham lives at the end of a little dirt road 7 miles from Somerset crossroads with her husband, Hatch (a retired forester), their two trained search-and-rescue dogs, and a black cat and two goats (untrained) [2002].

This ShirtPocket book is available online from

Mt Aukum Press Bookstore

check for selected poems to view
Welcome to the Ridge

Home Builder

Trespass

Seduction

Under a Snow Moon

 

Welcome to the Ridge

Home Builder

Trespass

Seduction

Under a Snow Moon

 

Welcome to the Ridge

Home Builder

Trespass

Seduction

Under a Snow Moon

 

Welcome to the Ridge

Home Builder

Trespass

Seduction

Under a Snow Moon

 

Welcome to the Ridge

Home Builder

Trespass

Seduction

Under a Snow Moon

 

Welcome to the Ridge

Home Builder

Trespass

Seduction

Under a Snow Moon

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WELCOME TO THE RIDGE

 

UPS won't find you here.

But as if by miracle

The Watchtower appears,

as from above, with two young men in suits

who believe you came to live here

so you could talk to angels.

 

Planes will not touch down, nor

any television network to your thin

antenna. Electricity

will be a far-off dream

when you wake up to a comforter

of snow.

The only sound, then,

will be your own

appliances: your breathing, your

heartbeat.

 

How the unplowed distance

to town lengthens.

And the howl that catches

your breath in the dark is nothing

the police can solve.

 

HOME BUILDER

 

He never thought of his left shoulder,

however broad, as a foundation.

But that's where he carried the loads

of joists and girders. By the time he nailed

on the first plywood sheet of sub-floor,

it was too late to shift the burden

to his right shoulder, or to set it down.

Copper plumbing proved surprisingly

heavy, but the intricate web of wires

lifted his step with the promise of power

under rising sections of wall.

Now wind catches the verticals

like sails; he wavers in his path

but shifts his center of balance

and keeps going. Trusses, and finally

the roof, pitched steeply

on the south for shade. At last

he sits down. The house is finished. 

He lives here. He will never leave.

 

TRESPASS

 

I've come the way rabbits thread

through thicket and berry bramble,

where wizened fruit studs the thorns

like flies on a porch screen.

The way drops into cedar hollow,

then climbs to the tang of axed pine.

Old wheel ruts show the way.

Dogs in the distance bark my presence.

And here's the hiss of cultivated bees.

 

I know you live around here

someplace. But I don't mean to steal

your pleasure of country bread, nor

all the water from your well.

I wouldn't dream of taking the quiet

of summer leaves, the morning's color

from your pasture, your passing

fragment of breeze.

 

SEDUCTION

 

Coyotes weave the ridge with polyphonic

song. They call our cat.

She loves the bones of small night creatures

skittering their hunger dances in the dark.

Coyotes sing that song. They sing

anybody's hunger under an empty moon.

 

Our cat sharps the chitter of her jaws.

She has no sense of size. Owl talon,

cougar claw, coyote calling.

She's sweet as salmon from a tin

 

and safe behind our doors.

We snap the latch and listen.

Coyotes go on improvising song

that touches a raw hunger.

How soft it sings

the moon the dark

and just to her.

 

 

UNDER A SNOW MOON

 

The old dog naps by the door,

his whiskers frosted by a February

white full moon. All night, ears

half-cocked, he'll be patrolling

the outskirts of our sleep, such shapes

of harm the moonlight draws

on a dog's care.

 

With closed eyes he watches:

deer, coyote, fox. Does the she-

bear leave her cleft of canyon

to cast tremendous shadows

on our lawn? Gone by dawn, lost

to us. The old dog sniffs the dark

and bars the door.