While we’re asleep
the ordinary items of a room
rearrange themselves
wordless, regardless of their labels
(“Made in Taiwan,” “wash & wear”)
or what it says in the owner’s
the revocable warranties.

They rise up
while we wander lost in the natural
symbols of our dreams.
These simple household goods
mimic speech and intertwine
into a cabala of their own design,
as wallpaper.

Listen. Every sound clicks
into place, a tone
like bells, like machines make.
dishwasher, clock.
All these manufactured servants
are singing to themselves,
to soothe us into sleep.

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada, who also helps her husband (a retired wildlife biologist) with his field projects. Her poems have appeared in International Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, The New York Quarterly, Poetry International, and elsewhere, and have been included in the anthology, California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Santa Clara University, 2004). Her manuscript, The Downstairs Dance Floor, is winner of the 2005 Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize from Texas Review Press. (piper@innercite.com)

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