Restoration Taylor Graham Poetry

local_library Restoration

by Taylor Graham

Published in Issue No. 16 ~ September, 1998

You scrape away the paint, a yellow skin.
The eye knows surfaces. It’s density
you’re after, the heft of wall pressed
for so many generations between people
inhaling, exhaling. Maybe

this was the room of a child who ran
his tongue over brushstroke sunshine
on a rainy day, glued poster-paint
imagination above his bed. His mother
would scrub her skin against the stain
of fingers guessing light-switch
in the dark. A child sees so many
colors on the wall. His mother learns
to see its bruises: no way to wash it

                         And now you pare away,
wallpaper and paint to wallboard,
your breath the newest layer on its
unreflective face.

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Taylor Graham works as a volunteer with search-and-rescue dogs in the Sierra Nevadas. His poems have appeared in America, The Iowa Review, Passages North, Southern Humanities Review, and elsewhere. My latest collection, Casualties: Search-and-Rescue Poems (Coal City,1995), is profiled in the 1998 Poet's Market.