Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the California Sierra. She lives between Placerville and Rescue, and served as El Dorado County’s first poet laureate (2016-2018). She’s included in the anthologies California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present, California Fire & Water: A Climate Crisis Anthology, and Villanelles (Everyman’s Library). Her latest book is Windows of Time and Place (Cold River Press, 2019). Visit Taylor on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Taylor Graham and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
In Time of Climate Change
I was woken by the morning news local news
that all this month this new year is the same and
every daybreak new.
Our flooded dry-creek a foot higher, banks
slouching into flow.
The hospitals are full, they say, an old man refusing
to drink water because he’s in process of
dissolving into the flow.
Or was that the dream that woke me in the dark
of thunder lightning eye-level through the bedroom
News I see and feel before the TV’s on, tornado
warning trees falling on houses in a field.
We’re an atmospheric river land as ocean, our
bodies mostly water and on the news the flat-line
wind that blows big-rigs off the bypass
highways flooded with their trucks and passenger
cars joining the flow.
Open the door to pelting rain dark as the sky
waiting for a glow of sunrise rescue
thin rind of hope over Sierra’s snowbound teeth.
I Wish I Could Answer the Question
On a Saturday morning,
walking through the deserted school,
I stop to see what’s taped inside
a classroom window. Carefully printed
on each wide-lined sheet with a child’s drawing
was the answer to teacher’s question:
In your opinion, would penguins
make good pets? The kids agreed, penguins
are cute – a plus for a pet; and they don’t pee –
a plus for housebreaking. And yes, it would be fun
to swim with a penguin. Some kids worried
about being pecked by a penguin beak.
No one mentioned it’s illegal to keep a penguin;
or that penguins are threatened by introduced
diseases, pollution, tangling in fish-nets,
not to mention climate change.
Oh, to be able to imagine a world
with penguin pets, without the worries.
Born in Newark, NJ, Patrice M. Wilson, is an associate professor emerita of English of Hawaii Pacific University, and a working poet living now in Mililani, Hawaii. She has had 3 chapbooks, and a full length collection of poetry published, by Finishing Line Press and eLectio Publishing, respectively. She loves writing editing, crocheting, making jewelry and not making money, all while listening to music.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Patrice Wilson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Between two well-hewn mountain-rock walls
a parted Red Sea of our own making,
I travel north from Jersey, road sign
annunciations tell of alpine scenic lookouts–
“alp” in English meaning “high mountain,”
in another language “brave” or “valiant.”
I am neither of these.
Ahead, distant glimpses of higher peaks
marled with latest autumn colors.
But more than hills I long to gain a valley,
a spacious in-between where I could thrive,
land flowing with milk and honey–
fresh-water streams to fish and swim in,
a promised land deep, verdant, noiseless.
To journey there will take more than hours
driving down from highlands.
To walk across my own thirst–
it will take a long time.