Mini-cougar in domestic guise,
the cat assumes his Crescent Moon pose,
a motionless dance. You hardly notice
how he segues into Extended Sphinx:
claws retracted, energy uncharted. Never
mistake it for giving up the more than possible,
though he radiates indifference, a mime
of Consciousness Exhaust. Now
the dog, who's journeyed farther with you
from the wild, lies down facing him.
Palms reaching. Dog touches finger-tips
with Cat. Silence gaze-to-gaze.
Do you dare lie down with them,
speak to them as friends--
you with your load of expectations
in a language they don't share?
Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada. She's included in the anthologies Villanelles (Everyman's Library, 2012) and California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Santa Clara University, 2004). Her book, The Downstairs Dance Floor, was awarded the Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize. Her latest book is What the Wind Says (Lummox Press, 2013), poems about living and working with her canine search partners over the past 40 years.