A molten landscape hardened;
by daylight's afterglow, sand-shimmer
of heat. Was that a volcanic plug
on the horizon, backlit by setting sun?
or the fist of a missing hiker?
Remnant of a cinder-cone;
granite and lava over eons opposing.
Between dry-wash and a single
weathered post, a snake
left its autograph, a coil unraveling.
We should have balked at this
assignment; didn't realize
what desert search
does to a dog's pads; like
walking miles of hot sandpaper.
Two days and nights, no one
had found a clue. Whisper-growth
of rumor and conjecture.
A psychic spoke her dream.
The missing transforms to myth.
Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada. Walking the Puppy (a chapbook) and What the Wind Says (full-length collection about working her dogs) are available from Lummox Press.