“Every Traveler Has One Idaho Poem” by Rob Jacques

                                      . . . hills are turning
                curved green against the astonished morning
                sneeze-weed and ox-eye daisies
                not caring I am a stranger
                                    — Audre Lorde

A pilgrim moving through on my way
to Wherever or Hereafter, I pull off I-90
into a town whose trees are flushed gold
with autumn, whose one white church
is washed honest and pure in stark fall light,
whose main street is paved with nostalgia,
and I park beside a roadside apple stand,
D’Arcy Spice, Irish Peach, and Silken
in bushel baskets above broad wood boxes
of Granny Smith, Gloster, and Ruby Grand.

I’m 17 again and just as innocent and good
as this rural town.  A lanky, blond boy
with ice-gray eyes adds spice to this miracle
of a day, his face youthfully beautiful, and
I smile my greeting as I pick several Pippins
from a box in front of him and think I’d be
blessed to live free in this rustic Eden
without a care from urban storm and stress
as this boy turns away spitting, “Faggot!”
into autumn’s sacred, apple-fragrant air.


Rob Jacques resides on a rural island in Washington State’s Puget Sound, and his poetry appears in literary journals, including Atlanta Review, Prairie Schooner, Amsterdam Quarterly, Poet Lore, The Healing Muse, and Assaracus.  A collection of his poems, War Poet, was published by Sibling Rivalry Press in March 2017.