Under Wild Plum Trees by Taylor Graham

It’s been half a year since coyotes killed the lamb.
You walked down the swale into the dry creekbed,
up stair-step rocks that, in winter, cradle a still pool,
to the place where they left her almost intact, just
dead. So many months after, you had to hunt, think
back, remember. After half a year, no trace
of where they dragged their kill. No skull left, not
a nub of wool. We never saw vultures. Other
creatures – raccoons and foxes, green-bottle flies
and beetles – must have feasted. Bacteria, fungi.
The lamb is gone, the universe is fed.
I wonder where her bleat went, her nuzzle,
the soft brown focus of her eyes.

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in El Dorado County. Her poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, The New York Quarterly, Poetry International, Southern Humanities Review. Her latest book is What the Wind Says (Lummox Press, 2013), about living, training and searching with her canine partners.

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