Nothing grows near greasewood
with its tar pot odor
that sucks up every drop.
So the shrub stands alone in gravel
rising from its own bones
in tatters—as sordid
as the undead.
And yet you willingly hold your breath
to pause and admire
its shaggy yellow flowers—
shriveled in the heat, perhaps,
Don Thompson has been writing about the San Joaquin Valley for
over fifty years, including a dozen or so books and chapbooks. "A
San Joaquin Almanac" won the Eric Hoffer Award for 2021 in the
chapbook category. For more info and links to publishers, visit his