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Monday, March 21, 2005


by Taylor Graham

She’s dying, we said 15 years ago.
She’s dead. But no. See her smile
so slow, how long – look, she lies

there still as yesterday, a some-
times smile to see us, or not.
Sometimes smiles at nothing

as today drags to tomorrow. Life,
we say, is sometimes so close
to death. She never left a will,

she wasn’t ready. So young and
smiling. So strong a will. But
will has so many meanings.

She said she never wanted to be
kept like this, imprisoned
in a wordless smile.

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada; she also helps her husband, a retired wildlife biologist, with his field projects. Her poems have appeared in Black Moon, Free Lunch, The Iowa Review, and elsewhere.