Everyone hears voices—everyone
who listens into the land. It’s not madness
to hear boasting in the wild grass
that schemes to take over,
spreading as far as you can see.

Out here, wind in the sparse trees,
survivors, talks nonstop
about the opulent north.
And what can the trees answer,
who’ve never gone anywhere,
whose articulate roots are almost
too deep to hear?

Rocks keep their distance from us,
from each other, standoffish
and tightlipped ascetics.
But they speak now and then
in a dialect like clicking tongues,
surprisingly fond of gossip.

Don Thompson

About the poet: Don Thompson was born and raised in Bakersfield, California, and has lived in the southern San Joaquin Valley for most of his life. Now retired from teaching in the prison system, he lives with his wife, Chris, on her family’s cotton farm in the house that has been home to four generations. Thompson has been publishing poetry since the early sixties, including a half-dozen books and chapbooks. Most recently, Local Color, a book-length narrative poem, has been released by Kelsay Books along with Keeping an Eye on the Stones, prose poems from Kaywompous Press; another selection of prose poems, Nietzsche Wept, is forthcoming from Finishing Line.