Taylor Graham: “Observing Distances”



          in time of Covid


Six days in our pasture, and at last
the neighbor’s great white horse lifts his head
at the crunch of my tires on gravel.
From the car, our dog alerts at this alien beast
but doesn’t bark. We’re off to hospital
where, masked, I’m allowed as wife
to visit husband. When nurse isn’t looking,
I kiss him on the forehead
through my mask.
Left in the car, our dog must sniff
every inch of me for relic
scent of his presence.
Back at our gate, the neighbor’s horse
four-hoof ambles to the fence, stretches
his gray-silk muzzle over the top wire,
snuffling the smell of my palm; then stands
motionless while I stroke the soft spots.



Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada, and served as El Dorado County’s first poet laureate (2016-2018). In addition to Valparaiso Poetry Review, her work has appeared in Iowa Review, New York Quarterly, Poet Lore, Southern Humanities Review, and elsewhere. She’s included in the anthologies Villanelles (Everyman’s Library) and California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Santa Clara University/Heyday Books), and California Fire & Water: A Climate Crisis Anthology (Story Street Press). Her latest book is Windows of Time and Place (Cold River Press).

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