Four Poems

Don Thompson

Photo Credit: loppear/Flickr (CC-by)

Danse de Pommes

Doves like retired ballet dancers,
plump but content to be,
settle side by side on a powerline
close to the window.

Their gnarled feet look too sore
even to shuffle,
but they still balance like pros,
without a thought.

And with their long and elegant,
supple necks crisscrossing,
they take up where it left off
a lifelong pas de deux.



You can almost see with your eyes closed
the thought you think
helplessly, always against your will.
There it is again—

drifting above consciousness,
that flat expanse of stinkweed and stone
you’ve shattered with a sledgehammer,
doing life with hard labor:

A dense, miasmic cloud, lint gray,
you could refer someone to who asks
the exact tint, the precise odor
of regret.



Their leaves shimmer like the scales of salmon
leaping into the current of the wind:
an endangered species

struggling to escape this low meadow
on a foolish impulse familiar to us
and make it upstream—

that is, uphill, above the tree line,
across the bone bare scarp
where nothing with roots can reproduce

or even survive, except
an ancient, solitary Bristlecone,
already extinct in its own lifetime.


Road Work

A bungled sunrise, inconclusive
carmine and mauve, spills across the mud
that makes the road impassable.

I have to turn back, sacrificing
the long walk that heals a heart
and calms a mind.

But the winter sun, though hesitant,
always gets to work on repairs,
and soon, if there’s no more rain,

the dirt road I need to take
will be gray and cracked again,
harder than old asphalt.


Email: d_e_thompson[at]

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