Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Township and Range by Taylor Graham

No matter how long we stand
at the overlook, this scene won’t stay
still. Not the ponderosa pines
holding just enough wind in their arms
to sway slightly, like old folks
at the edge of dance, remembering
music no one plays anymore; not birds
concealed among the heather-pink
of manzanita bells; nor the cattle, pale
yellow flowers drifting below us
in the swale, too lost in meadow grass
to give bellow.

By the contour map we’re at a divide:
straight survey lines come together here,
marking things off against the heave
of uplift, slough of green hillside
after late-spring rains. Beyond the passes,
a sonic boom. Do I imagine a matching
tremor underfoot? There’s a brief
shapelessness as air wavers
between us and landscape,
the trigonometries of those old
surveyors. It dances to the passionate
steps of Earth.

Taylor Graham, California, USA

1 comment:

Crafty Green Poet said...

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the California Sierra. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Literary Review, The Iowa Review, Poetry International, Southern Humanities Review, and elsewhere, and she’s included in the anthology California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present. Her book The Downstairs Dance Floor (Texas Review Press, 2006) was awarded the Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize. Her latest project is Walking with Elihu, poems about the American peace activist Elihu Burritt, the Learned Blacksmith (1810-1879).