August is hard on city dwellers,
brutally humid, viscous--
the weather rage has been waiting for.
But even out here,
a mile or two this side of nowhere,
gunshots last night
punched holes in the darkness
and let streaks of urban neon in.
Coyotes bit their tongues in mid-yip
and slipped away into the hills
with one more good reason to avoid us.
Dust Storm (2)
A mud-colored dry surf
has rolled over us. Helpless,
we all hunker down--
mollusks that leak no matter how tight
we try to seal windows and doors.
But what else can we do?
This tide won't even submit
to the full moon,
swallowing it like a pebble.
Like smoke from a wildfire, haze
cancels the inoffensive autumn sun.
Only haze . . .
But everyone looks up, expecting
to see leaves of ash
sideslipping down on us, delicately,
and then takes a furtive whiff
like any other creature alive
in this dry season
that knows fire is inevitable.
Don Thompson has been publishing poetry since the early sixties, including several books and chapbooks in this century. Black Roads won the 2008 Sunken Garden Poetry Prize. An LA Times profile, "Planted in the San Joaquin," remains available online. Visit his website at www.don-e-thompson.com for links to his books.