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Jeffrey Thompson



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

to dig.

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.


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