Four Quatrains

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Contributor: Don Thompson

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Temps Perdu

The old snakes stay up late at night
And go out searching for their sluffed skin.
It glitters like frost in the warm moonlight,
But somehow they never find it.


A death rattle of leaves as the wind dies,
Then silence. And no shelter,
Not even under the trees with their febrile,
Uninviting shade like sliced obsidian.


Late storms torment the usual places
Where everyone’s had enough.
Out here at the warm end of winter,
Almond blossoms pass for snow.


Frosted dead grass below a dead tree,
Patches of shadow, and rusted leaves
Fallen years ago that no shiftless wind
Has ever bothered to blow away.

Big Lonesome

Out in the scrub, scattered tumbleweeds
Stand around like sheep, content
To be still and graze on desolation—
Unless panicked by the wind.

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