Under the Shuttle, Awake
by Taylor Graham
dancing girl press, 2005
Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada, and also helps her husband (a retired forester/wildlife biologist) with his field projects. Her poems have appeared in America, Grand Street, The Iowa Review, The New York Quarterly, Poetry International, Wicked Alice, and elsewhere, and she’s included in the new anthology, California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Santa Clara University, 2004). Her previous chapbooks are A Year of 13 Moons (M.A.F. Press, 1992), Casualties: search-and-rescue poems (Coal City Review, 1995), Next Exit (Cedar Hill Publications, 1999), An Hour in the Cougar's Grace (Pudding House Publications, 2000), This Morning According to Dog (Hot Pepper Press, 2001), Greatest Hits 1973-2001 (Pudding House Publications, 2002), Still Life with Wood Smoke (Mt. Aukum Press, 2002), Harmonics (Poet's Corner Press, 2003), Lies of the Visible (Snark Publishing, 2003), and Living with Myth (Rattlesnake Press, 2004).
from Under the Shuttle, Awake
Chewing Hair Kills Girl, 17
The tabloids got it wrong.
Split ends may look like fishhooks
or an anchor.
But when she chews her braids
on a dusty afternoon, sitting on the porch
they taste like Sunday at the beach,
a little salty/sandy. Long
blond hair the color of dunes, or star-
fish in a tidal pool. Sanderlings
winging in and out of a pair of foot-
prints wandering the shore,
two people making prints so much
in love they disappear
Along the tide-line, hungry gulls.
Waves of hair in easy tangles, sea-
weed and an undertow of moon
coming full. A hook at the split-
end of each pale lock,
long swallow briefer
than a kiss. Mermaid in her mist
until she wakes again