Her paleo grimace and a mummy’s differ
in degree, not kind.
Toothless for decades, but still not grizzled.
Her coarse hair’s dense as Tule mats,
and her frock must’ve been washed out
when she got it—cast off
polka dots that mean nothing to the blind.
Now a bewildered child guides her
to a farmhouse stoop
where she barters bay leaves
for coffee—not black,
but half sugar and thickened
with an embalmer’s dollop of cream.
Don Thompson has been writing about the San Joaquin Valley for over fifty years, including a dozen or so books and chapbooks. Recently he has been concentrating on the Yokuts, the indigenous people of the region. For more info and links to publishers, visit his website.