SEQUENCE THAT TRESPASSES ON AN ABANDONED LABOR CAMP
No footloose wind can resist a house
Without windows or doors to keep it out.
But who’d guess that once inside
It would settle down, home at last.
This old green paint has nothing in common
With grass. Against nature,
It refuses to fade and peels less like leaves
Than desiccated paper money.
3. Temp Housing
Distant origins carved in the woodwork:
Oaxaca, Zacatecas. But no one lived here
Long enough to notch a doorjamb,
Marking a child’s annual growth.
Now that the roof’s collapsed, exhausted,
And hinges have finally lost their grip,
This house has given up—a pushover
For the next merciless wind.
Migrant ghosts still come here for a season.
Too busy to haunt, they’re out in the fields
All night harvesting loneliness—
The one cash crop that never fails.
An end-of-the-world uneasiness
Intimidates us here. Even the birds
Feel it. Silent except for the crows
That shrug off everything and get on with it.
7. No Trespassing
A security truck’s jar of honey lights up:
Time to go, leaving these shacks
To silence, emptiness, gloom—
Hives for all the bees of nonbeing.
Don Thompson has been writing about the San Joaquin Valley for over fifty years, including a dozen or so books and chapbooks.