Last night I slipped into those depths
I dreamed in the days
when I thought I could dive every ocean—
metaphorically, no accident, no harm.
I knew everything
back then. Except the sharks, the stingrays,
harpoons that come out of nowhere
to pin you to a sunken craft, bleeding
your saltwater blood back to sea.
Accidents of Life. Slice
your finger. Peel and dice an onion
in its three dimensions intersected
by the fourth dimension, Time.
Back then, books told me
but I didn’t understand: those
books that make their art
of just this craft: accidents of memory,
the unknown that eludes your spear;
underwater tides that drown you.
Dialogue of Window and Clothesline
A perfect morning, sunny breeze—
Except the laundry basket.
Don’t you love the smell of shirts fresh off the line?
Hanging out unmentionables for all the world to see.
They’re clean, they’ve been through the wash.
Embarrassing—like a full-body scan at the airport.
Better to stay attached to Mother Earth.
Hanging laundry’s against the Covenants.
Wind Power! Solar! That’s the covenant.
It looks like a tenement.
Breeze smells of orchards, feels like home.
It’s big enough for the two of them
Card Table Dinner
now. Two luncheon plates that do
for dinner. Hungers like expectations
downsized over years. She bought
the table years ago, and not for cards.
For sewing, handicrafts, a bit of yarn
and silk gone tattered, long since
forgotten. They never played cards,
one against the other. She remembers
solitaire at the kitchen table while
onions and garlic rendered golden.
Such elaborate meals she cooked,
back then, for just the two of them.
Choucroute garnie, paellas, curries
with all the condiments.
The Danish modern dining table
with its honey-velvet sheen
reflecting amber light of seven
globes suspended above the two
of them. That table burned
in the fire. Its replacement, too big
for the house they live in now.
Who needs so much when it’s just
the two of them? A piece of fish
tonight, a glass of wine.
Their diminished appetites.
©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.