Taylor Graham


 Go beyond the dead-end trusting
 you’ll come out the other side. Believing there’s
 a drop-dead vista and you’ll survive it.
 Mid-June, just some snow lingering in the high
 country. Just that bank of white slowly
 melting into creek on a jeep road half a mile
 from the cow-camp meadow. Just that one
 frozen drift. Ease on the gas, the truck
 stops. Rock the wheels deeper into screaming
 ice. Stuck. It could snow again tonight.
 Shovel out in the morning. Kibble for your dog,
 a can of stew for you, heated over a tiny
 fire that mocks the stars. Too many stars to
 count. Loose change in the sky’s dark pocket.
 Your old dog sleeps guard outside
 your tent; at dawn, hang-dog. Kibble strewn
 across granite, stew-can crunched. From the near
 far distance, coyotes singing their mock-song.


 Let’s take the drive for old-times’ sake,
 up Mormon Emigrant Trail where, whizzing up
 the long long ridge at 50 mph on a just-filled
 tank of gas, where pioneers made a wagon path
 that zeroed in on Tragedy
 Spring; a month to cross the Sierra, block-&-
 tackling their wagons down Devil’s
 Ladder. We’ll take a lunch, not to be waylaid
 by way-stations and the urge to just sit
 down and bide. So much history – our own
 and bits and pieces of other people’s lives –
 to relive. Signs to places we’ve turned off
 the highway, or dreamed of turning.
 Fleming Meadow, ghosted space that shivers me
 in June. Three or was it four girls
 murdered? Pilliken and Meiss. Baltic Peak
 without its lookout, its lonely human
 perspective; the disassembled tower lying now
 in a county park, waiting for resurrection.
 Farther up the mountain, just short
 of Cosumnes headwater/before the cattle-
 guard, we’ll take that little forest road
 that stopped us once – a winter-toppled fir
 blocking the track, and we
 without a chainsaw. The whole hillside alive
 with butterflies mating. Clouds
 of wings, each couple balanced on the tips
 of nameless pink flowers.

After years of getting up at odd hours of the night to go search for lost people, Taylor Graham still trains her dogs for search-and-rescue in the California Sierra, and serves as El Dorado County’s first poet laureate (2016-2018). She and her husband and dogs (and the occasional cat) have crossed the country many times, trying their luck at furtive car-camping. Her poetry’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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The views and opinions expressed throughout belong to the individual artists and may or may not coincide with those of the other artists (or editors) represented within the magazine. Hobo Camp Review supports a free-for-all atmosphere of artistic expression, so enjoy the poetry, fiction, opinions, and artwork within, read with an open mind, and comment wisely. Thanks for stopping by the Camp!