Taylor Graham

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 Amazon.



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