To the Man at the Feed & Seed
I love how you sunny the depths of barn
as I back my little car in. I love the way
your arms are brown as buckeye on the tree.
Those arms could handle anything.
I love hearing you murmur to your partner
in your language—I can't catch the words
but it sounds like wind in orchard grass.
I love how you lift the bale of hay
with twin hooks, like an offering,
and place it gently in the bed of my car
so the springs sigh. I love the way you
manage the trick latch of the hatchback,
softly as putting a cranky child to sleep.
I love how you make no promises beyond
"have a nice day, ma'am," and how you
ask nothing of me in return.
Taylor Graham is a volunteer
search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada. Her poems have appeared in American Literary Review, The Iowa Review,
The New York Quarterly, Poetry International, Southern Humanities Review,
and elsewhere. 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 Phillips Poetry Chapbook
Prize, and she's a finalist in Poets & Writers' California Writers
Exchange. Her latest book, Walking with
Elihu: poems on Elihu Burritt, the Learned Blacksmith, is available on