Just Outside the Gate to Hell

The police impound your car.
It doesnít run, it wouldnít smog.
But itís all youíve got, with your
two umbrellas and three worn
winter coats, a flashlight and
plastic grocery bags of
odds Ďn ends, a change of work-
clothes in the trunk.

It doesnít matter.
City Hall wonít save you.
Itís Saturday, theyíre closed.
Nowhere to go but
on foot.
Not the richest
ankle-length mink could warm
you in Charonís boat

as the familiar
fogs rise off dead waters.
It doesnít matter,
you havenít got the fare.

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)

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761