Jeffrey Thompson ~ Five Poems

Lonesome George

Maybe you won every battle
but the last. Maybe you didn’t
fight at all. In the end
you found a warm spot by the window
where you could nurse your coffee
the whole work­ing day.


Killing Time

When the bad thoughts come,
My shrink tells me,
Cross the street.
My broth­er insists he has nothing
Left to live for.
My mom has a new friend.
Without dad, my sis­ter says,
We are the only fam­i­ly left.

The books and the weath­er are gone,
The pains and the cures.
Each class­room, bed­room, office
Silent as a map.
The hos­pi­tal room tableaux
Left harm­less as holes in the wall
Made by some­body who used to be



From their start­ing place on the toi­let seat
the speck of lint and the tiny fruit fly
(if that’s what it is—some minute bug)
can­not be told apart. But as they move
toward the abyss, the path they describe—
puff of air, care­ful hop—is the only thing that’s real.



The shards of glass have no choice
vis a vis my bare feet.
When the bot­tle broke
they just land­ed that way.

As for you, you’re too anxious
to break in your new boots.
You have to keep going
until the blis­ters burst.


Comfort Inn, Omaha or Oklahoma City

Maybe I’ll spend a few days in this motel
try­ing to fig­ure things out.
I emp­tied the car­top carrier,
clothes still wet from the storm in South Dakota.
Checked out the gym down the hall,
tread­mill and bike, Texas Hold ‘Em on tv.
There’s a Red Lobster across the park­ing lot,
down the frontage road a Superstore.
I can buy a pair of sun­glass­es, a new phone.
I’ve got a cof­fee-mak­er and two queens.
I left myself some time. Probably not enough.


Jeffrey Thompson grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, before it became a watch­word for cool. He was edu­cat­ed at the University of Iowa and Cornell Law School and lives in Phoenix, where he prac­tices pub­lic inter­est law. His work has appeared or will appear in jour­nals includ­ing Passengers, North Dakota Quarterly, The Main Street Rag, FERAL, Unbroken, On the Seawall, The Tusculum Review, Burningword Literary Journal, ONE ART, Maudlin House, and Trampoline. His hob­bies include read­ing, hik­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy, lis­ten­ing to Leonard Cohen, and doom-scrolling the ruins of Twitter.