Inevitably slower. Salt without savor
Sprinkles his black bristles.

Those pile driver thighbones ache
When the air is damp — which is always.

His eyes have begun to blur fact, milky
Like the eyes of fish born blind

In the cold, dark, ancient stream
He grunts to his knees to drink from.

But the old bull-man is still hungry,
Famished, and just a whiff

Of warm linen, of sun-bleached hair
Sends him into a frenzy—

Not for flesh and blood,
But for the illusive taste of light.

[Don Thompson has been publishing poetry since the early sixties with several books and chapbooks in this century. Back Roads won the 2008 Sunken Garden Prize. Recently released: Keeping an Eye on the Stones, prose poems from Kattywompus Press; Local Color, a book-length narrative poem from Kelsay Books. An LA Times profile, “Planted in the San Joaquin,” remains available online.]

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