Don Thompson

I Remember Clifford

(Clifford Brown)

Rain spatters the cracked windshield;
the wipers, impossibly still working,
say, “Not my fault, not my fault.”
But no one’s listening—

not Nancy jammed under the steering wheel,
not Richie riding shotgun, disarmed,
not Clifford crumpled in the backseat.

Oil and blood pool: an odd peace.

Rainwater runs away, escapes
downhill into a flooded stream:
“Not my fault.”

A trumpet locked in the trunk
begins to blow softly, begins to glimmer,
reflecting a light no one can see.

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

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