for Thom

I can leave my phone under this apple tree
& take the keys to your truck & drive
across North Dakota & no one will notice.
Do you think this apple from the Family
Superette is organic? After I moved in,
I forgot which furniture was mine & which
just appeared like your book of poems
about North Dakota, that book of nightmares
by Kinnell. Why is there an h in your name
if you don’t say it aloud? You’d better come along too.
I’ve already packed your chickens, your pen,
that Beastie Boys album you keep playing.
We’ll ask along the way about a record player.
I hope you don’t mind the mallards
on your lap–they torment the chickens.
I brought my pen too. We’ll reclaim your nightmares,
that North Dakotan gale, those tasseling soul
shreds caught like erasure shavings
along each peak between Mt. Spokane & White Butte,
& when we fail we’ll head south like conquerors.
No one will know: you the Poet Laureate
of Spokane, me the Poet Laureate
of my grandparents’ house–this isn’t escape,
it’s waste management. Leave your phone next to mine.
We have six birds, two pens, & 10,000 diners
full of napkins between us & Mississippian lemonade.
We’ll call it redemption. We’ll call it with gin.

John Allen Taylor