Wolf Eye

Taylor Graham

Hunter's Moon

over a windblown waste of desert
between cliff walls and dropoff to the river,
where I’m searching for a man
I never heard of
before the dawn briefing. Search
without a clue, not a whiff
of human scent. Cold as November
without Thanksgiving.
Cold as fossils between one geologic age
and the next that buries it.
I pitch my tent, the flash-
flood line above my head, a storm
predicted for tomorrow.
But tonight, the sky is a riddle
of stars. moon about to rise.
What could they tell me
of a missing hiker –
his place or mine in the layers
of time?

In the Search and Rescue Museum

Here’s the Portico of Missing Persons
open-air to the worst of weather. Best viewed
at 2 a.m. when woken from sweet
sleep by phone or pager.

Exhibit: the Flash-flood Victim
splayed like a muddy mannequin
swept off Broadway.
The Dumpster Child they found

in the landfill. The Hanging Man
who noosed himself to a good
stout tree. The Desperate Housewife
whose aim was bad but

good enough to end her. Marriage
isn’t always happy-ever, witness
the Bride in pieces
at the bottom of a granite fall.

There are others in this aisle I wander
fast asleep in dreams
and wake up wondering
which one of the so-many missing

I missed.

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada. Her poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, The New York Quarterly, Southern Humanities Review, and elsewhere; and she's included in California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Santa Clara University, 2004). contact


The 2River View