Vespers Update

In this season, the sun sets
like an afterthought, its light
already non-luminous.

The hills mostly murk
with some leftover mauve
that’s gone flat.

But Venus burns a hole
in the West, intense
and more adamant than ever.

January 31st

The sun through an
oily pond water smear
of its own light,
almost too dim to see by.

Winter but not cold
enough to convince—
stagnant air only
a few degrees below tepid.

Icebound up north,
tropics stunned by heat:
we’re neither nor,
lackluster, in-between.

Sunday Afternoon

Cumulus out of Constable
loiter to the north,
left behind by a storm.

Calm now.

Pools of rainwater
like cloudscapes
abandoned, unfinished,
by weekend artists
who had to get back to work.


No remnant sheen on the doves.
The land’s flat affect
of grays, gray-brown, and browns
isn’t even morose.

Non-evocative, except for
that sunlit, aluminum shed—
a glare so distant
the eye reads it as white;

and across the road,
an onion field, already sprouted—
green so vibrant
you have to look away.

Don Thompson has been writing about the San Joaquin Valley for over fifty years, including a dozen or so books and chapbooks.  For more info and links to publishers, visit his website at