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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