Taylor Graham: “Available Light”


Image in my mind—potency of a basic
pigment in the spectrum of light, swirled with
other colors of the moment, rendered
by an artist’s hand. There she stands at her easel
above the lake—this landscape I’ve loved
in many seasons, and caught
just half an hour ago with my clumsy iPad
before I moved on along the trail—
wild turkey with young, a deer surprised to see
me in the buckeye woods, an egret poised
at reeds’ edge. And now I’ve come
back on my circuit to snap this artist at her
easel. She’s working on sky reflected
in water, capturing (isn’t that what we artists
do?) a small piece of the wild world,
not to deflate but to intensely focus.
Impressive, her patience. I can’t stand still
that long. My iPad itches to keep moving,
find the next snatchable moment,
a perfect, changing composition of light
and shadow on ripples wind-stirred, the egret
lifting off in our art forever elusive
as light, the origin if not the end of longing.

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the California Sierra, and she serves as El Dorado County’s first poet laureate (2016-2018). She’s included in the anthologies Villanelles (Everyman’s Library) and California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Santa Clara University). Her latest book is Uplift (Cold River Press, 2016).

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