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Taylor Graham
Under Our Feet

Roots unravel. You watched a pumpkin vine
tremble before it was sucked under,
green leaves and all.

Blame it on rodents. Ground squirrels ravage
our garden, disappear down holes
as if following a thread ever deeper into earth.

Nature’s thrill is unseen forces. Gnawing
teeth like itchy tectonic plates,
our own acres unsteady underfoot.

The town sits uneasy on its mining history –
Hangman’s Tree with its famous
cowboy-dummy swinging high from the façade;

the saloon’s reformed now as ice cream
parlor, but the building stands
rooted in the stump of hangman’s tree.

Far below, the Deep Blue Lead,
ancient auriferous river that financed the town.
History deepens, bedrock in my head.

Last week in a Main Street store-front,
I saw a gold bezel pendant in form of twisted
loop – not quite a hangman’s noose.

What keeps us living and awake here?
The edge, the fault-zone, tooth of hunger-
forces underground.