We sailed for hours on turquoise
water shifting to green as the zigzag
flight of wake-dwellers
dissected an August afternoon.
Tide for reminiscing.
Not a fin broke the surface
where there might be sharks.
Scavenger gulls trailed us waiting
for a bite. I memorized horizon
between the lines of Thomson
that exalt the Soul to solemn Thought,
one wave to the next –
each of his nouns so confidently
capital, the meter of solid ground.
Nothing so firm that afternoon
but sun sliding down
spar-varnish, water blue silk
till sunset into dark.
Twenty-seven years we’ve lived together
in one place, accumulating comforts, take-
for-granteds. I thought I knew every nook
and corner of your smile, the roadless view
from every window. Our rote of home,
of anniversaries. That same old piece
of Shakespeare you recited when we met.
Last night, at open mic, you – with a pirate-
swath of scarf across one eye (the left
not quite gone blind, healing from the latest
operation) – you became the Bard’s lament
of youth gone, everything forfeited by time
and expectation. How imperceptibly we’ve
changed. What did I really know of you?
Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue
dog handler in the Sierra Nevada. 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 was awarded the Robert Philips Poetry Chapbook Prize, and
she's a finalist in Poets & Writers' California Writers
Exchange. Her newest book - Walking with Elihu: poems on Elihu
Burritt, the Learned Blacksmith - is available on Amazon.