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Poems By Taylor Graham



The girl asks, why do the men
sing such sad songs?
Under the balcony
hibiscus and wine-red roses
bloom, pruned against
white stucco,
and in the sunless alleys
a faint scent of urine.

On this last day
of vacation in a foreign
land, her mother takes her
down the Prado lined with trees,
where a sea-breeze sweeps
everything fresh
as a girl’s cheek.

How does this girl know the sad
harbor songs, harmonized
of untranslatable words
by dark men
with tired faces?

She’ll never see this city
again. But she’ll try
all her life
to learn its language.


Look out the window. Twigs
shattered from the trees last night,
small snakes with minds
of their own, moving.

All night I listened
to what the wind said
with its wild
wordless tongue,

its signals of sighs and
What a wind! you say,
and shut tight the window. Nothing

in the house has changed.
I’ll just open
everything wide.


What I planted under moonlight
I found in the morning,
small green sprouts unfurling
in paired leaves

as everything from underground
comes paired
if it’s planted in the bed
of dreams.

Two leaves, then four
unfolding from the stalk,
each branch pushing
farther toward the bounds

I set for this garden.
Shadows live there
under leaves and tendrils,
and now

the fruit in small
hard clusters
ripening like everything
that comes from under,

promising to turn sweet.
Ripening to
what’s given

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada, who also helps her husband (a retired wildlife biologist) with his field projects. Her poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, The New York Quarterly, Poetry International, and elsewhere, and is included in the anthology California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Santa Clara University, 2004).



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