Friday, July 3, 2015

Taylor Graham - Pond of the Lost / Unspoken Water

Pond of the Lost

Beforehand, nothing is clear.
Someone canters across a meadow
leaving no discernible prints,
just torn-up turf. Maybe his dog leaps
for sticks, stirs up mud
in the pond, scent of organic decay.

Next day or the next, time
being a retrograde, a sad machine for losing,
my dog leads me there.
Unseasonable weather, clouded May.
Sudden death lays its plank
over water’s edge, makes ripples
under a dim lantern sun.
The mother searches for her child.
I stoop down, scoop up muddy water
in my palm. By August
the pond will be dry as tears.
For now, mud settles
to the bottom, sky reflects blue
floating supernate, spirit
above the sediment of life.




Unspoken Water

First light. Under the bridge
we’re walking riverbank calling the dead
name but every sound is muffled.
Reflective surface, permeable meniscus.
At water’s edge, absolute silence.
Mist rises like ghost breath, air and water
almost interchangeable. As if my dog
might sniff the drowned to life. Is that foam
or fallen petals? Rocks slick with dew,
or river tossing in its sleep. River is a potion,
life from clay and death by water.
Ever-shifting current undercutting bank
and building sandbar. And where’s my dog
now, so intent on finding? Disappeared
in fog. No, there she is, ahead. 
Dawn. Light draws life as water clings
to remnants of the dark, whatever happened
yesterday. River flowing speechless
for all our calling. Nothing brings him back
and yet he’s here. My dog swims
circles in a deeper pool, splashes out,
follows the current down.





Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in El Dorado County. Her poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, The New York Quarterly, Poetry International, Southern Humanities Review. Her latest book is What the Wind Says (Lummox Press, 2013), about living, training and searching with her canine partners.   

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