Fiction   Essays   Poetry  The Ten On Baseball Chapbooks In Memory

Taylor Graham

River Leavings

I never said goodbye to the Seine, the Rhone,
the Danube at Donaueschingen or Ulm;
the Kenai, Kuskokwim, the Deshka—
as if I ever meant to return—nor to the Thames;
the Tajo under a dark El Greco sky;
nor the Rhein that fogged my point of view
for an entire winter, drove me
south, and drew me back again, its waters—
like every river I’ve ever known—
inconstant gray-green-silver-blue of moving on,
of leaving without goodbyes.

Before I Go

One peach on a blue saucer
on the table, tempting
as the good doctor’s
refrigerator plums. So sweet
and juicy—just see
the crimson-amber color,
fuzz still warm
from hanging on the tree.
I picked it,
and there’s only one.
That’s one for me and none
for you, or
half for each of us.
I’d be wanting more.
I leave
one peach on a blue saucer.

Playing God Here

At dawn I was weed-eating foxtails
in the field; by noon,
setting traps for gophers.

In between, I watched the hawk
feed songbirds
in pieces to her nestlings,

and the phoebe, living her small
bright life while hawk
was busy elsewhere.

Now I’m mending fence
to banish deer from the garden—
its roses tempting as apples.

If I smite star-thistle
will it plunge to the nether regions?
What then becomes of its stars?

I love the deer as much
as I love the roses.
I love the phoebe and the hawk.

It must be tough to be God.

©2010 by Taylor Graham

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada. Her poems have appeared in International Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, The New York Quarterly, Poetry International, Southern Humanities Review, and elsewhere, and are included in the anthology, California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Santa Clara University, 2004). Her book The Downstairs Dance Floor (Texas Review Press, 2006) was awarded the Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize. Her latest book, Walking with Elihu: poems on Elihu Burritt, the Learned Blacksmith, is available on Amazon.

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