SATURDAY AT THE ARBORETUM
Wrought iron gates opened like a fairytale
beckoning up a drive that curved under elms
to the white Victorian. We imagined girls
of bygone days in satin frocks as pearled
as tapioca, sitting straight-ankled at tea
with jam. But we never went in. The garden
drew us, down walks scented with jasmine,
greenly overhung with fronds we couldn’t
name. We’d whisper our secrets, winding
paths to the grotto, where goslings swam
in waters Arcadia blue. Who lived there?
A dragon or an anchorite? a wizard or
the Queen of Sheba? Myth illusive as
childhood, a grotto guards its secret.
All night, a ship turns against wind,
easy at anchor under the cliffs.
What chart shows the hidden sulfur cave
where Cleopatra bathed? or, on another
shore, a granite theater that still holds
voices of an ancient tragedy? What dreams
rock these sailors through the dark,
before the sun wakes them to tomorrow?
YOU MAKE ME MUSIC
This morning a hum and buzz
like barbershop blues on a Monday
then louder, the reed section
of an orchestra imitating birds,
so many bright throats invisible
in sweet ripening clusters
of the grapevine
while the wind fingers through
its plainsong according to the runes
of leaf and tendril,
so I listen not quite tongue-
tied and simply let
the notes spring up from
to gather into cataracts,
river rushing tumbling
in my ears.
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).