OLD WEST DAYS by Taylor Graham


Eerie wail from a harmonica.

A little girl’s got her favorite bracelet on,

charms of ponies, cowboy boots
and branding irons, she’s jigging a hand-
dance to hoedown music of her own.

Don’t mind the smoke from the blacksmith

stall, it isn’t coal like in the old days.

Eerie wail of wind through distances,

folks traveled so far to get here,

across prairies, mountains. So much they
left behind. The historical museum’s
making room for more outmoded stuff

from household, field, and mining claim –

stamp-mill; crosscut saw; cast-iron stoves,

tubs and troughs and wooden dollies

for 4 a.m. laundry; ploughs and harrows,
lethal-looking farm tools for living
back-when. Cast away, passed away.

Eerie wail from a harmonica.

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). She’s included in the anthologiesVillanelles (Everyman’s Library) and California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present(Santa Clara University). Her latest book is Uplift (www.coldriverpress.com). 

El Dorado Poetry page on Facebook for news of local poetry events etc:


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