They’ve put down the baskets woven
to hold burdensome years
and learned at last not to worry
about gathering roots and acorns.
No hunger or thirst keeps them here,
but they stay close to implicit water—
an old habit that outlives flesh.
I’ve been watching: Yokut women,
not much more than shimmer,
a presence no one would notice
if not for their Tule reed skirts
swaying in the hot, windless air.
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 www.don-e-thompson.com.