I found a snail shell
on top of a butte
above the line of scoria
in the North Dakota badlands.
A man talking
on his phone, staring
at the sidewalk, puddles
shaped like continents,
stains shaped sperm
The water receded only seconds ago.
Frantically, we began
A Poem and a Half
I wrote a poem about x only to discover
it perfectly described y. I did not want to
write about y. Except in this one particular,
y was the opposite of x, the particular
being the poem. Where x, like y, waited
in a favorite chair, x inside, watching
television, y outside, shirtless in the sun,
smoking a cigarette. Waiting for what
is the point: x for the commercial break
to end, y for the test results, for a call
from his kids, for his empty chair
to be propped against the wall.
You say it was a trick
of perspective, I say a dog
was driving that car.
Jeffrey Thompson was raised in Fargo, North Dakota, before it became a watchword for cool, and educated at the University of Iowa and Cornell Law School. He lives in Phoenix, where he serves the taxpayers as a staff attorney for the United States District Court. His work has appeared or will appear in journals including North Dakota Quarterly, The Main Street Rag, FERAL, Unbroken, The Tusculum Review, Burningword, ONE ART, Maudlin House, Trampoline, Funicular, and New World Writing Quarterly. His hobbies include reading, hiking, photography, listening to Leonard Cohen, and doom-scrolling the ruins of Twitter.