A Tough Season by Taylor Graham

Mosquitoes airborne – born of air and sting –
thick on the weedy backside of your hill.
Frankly, it’s a devil’s garden, green-house
of thistle, rock and rip-gut brome. And sweat.
This bright morning, the weed-eater fails you.
Impossible war against Spring, trying
to clear a path to the view that used to
lift you beyond yourself, the valley dust.

This bright morning, you’d walk free with Nature.
But mosquitoes! Like the weed-eater’s whine,
as swallows swoop the field in graceful flight,
zapping insects as Nature intended.
The house wren pops into her nest of twigs,
a jumble-thicket of her own making.


Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada. 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). She serves as El Dorado County’s first poet laureate (2016-2018).