Betrayal of the Bike Trail
I wanted to get photos of our town’s
creek. It runs under a rock bridge between bike
path and courthouse, cutting deeper each year
into depths of bedrock, outliers of the flow
from super-volcanoes millions of years ago,
and an ancient river whose auriferous
gravel yielded millions of dollars, creating
our Gold Rush town. I wanted to catch morning
light on riffles of water through ridged
and polished ashen-gray rock. Willow and alder
shadowed the banks, and morning sun
patchworked the bike path with light and shade
and a pale-blue blanket heaped on
pavement. Relic of our town’s homeless, driven
from here to there? As I passed, it moved.
Tousled blonde hair pushed up, awakening;
a hand outstretched for balance, ring
on the wedding finger; face averted. The lens
of my iPad turned water a toxic shade
of emerald in the creek that cuts
a little deeper through town each year.
By Taylor Graham
Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada, and serves as El Dorado County’s first poet laureate (2016-2018). The places she searches and trains her dogs are often where the homeless camp or were recently evicted. Her poems are included in Homeless Issues (newsletter of the local Job’s Shelter of the Sierra) as well as the anthologies Villanelles (Everyman’s Library) and California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Santa Clara University). Her latest books are What the Wind Says (Lummox Press, 2013) and Uplift (Cold River Press, 2016).