TO TRANSLATE THE POEM
Sit down where morning light comes
over your left shoulder.
Look at the writing on the page.
Is the language so unfamiliar?
Already the poet has passed
beyond your grammar.
A photo in the book won’t help.
No matter how the eyes stare out,
the vision is focused inward.
Let your lips try to form themselves
around these foreign words.
Feel your tongue flutter to find
its way in the cave
of your mouth. Consider
the white that holds the dark
pressed letters. See how a slant
of sun is writing the first line.
AFTER WE PACKED UP
what we decided
was important enough to keep,
after loads and loads to Goodwill
and the dump,
20 years detritus,
alluvial fans of photos
and tax returns,
a mummified mouse
under what had been the couch,
all the stuff we hadn’t needed
and forgot we had
or where it was,
we walked among rooms
to pine boards
stained by generations of dogs,
Still, light gleamed
from every cardinal direction
into this space
of our lives. So much
in need of fixing,
and some to keep.
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
she's 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 is
Among Neighbors (Rattlesnake Press, 2007).