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Three poems by James Croal Jackson

Updated: Jul 4, 2021

Day 14 of 21 (Block A)


I saw you meditating

in the UPM’s office shades pulled

lotus on speckled carpet


you caught me wondering

if you were tranquil I felt terrible

though the door was open I was


an arrow piercing peace

that single moment I don’t know

if you ever think about it


your spotting my gaze lasted one

second at most my mind runs

reruns just tell me you’ve forgotten


in the chaos of casting hundreds

of extras for a scene canceled

by sudden rain




You Want Positivity? Here’s Some Positivity


The sun shines on my goddamn sunflower teeth.

Thankful my dental appointment was rescheduled


to an indeterminate point for future me (who is

that crooked reflection in the mirror? Relieved


to see bad posture alive and well) to compensate

for. When I graduated college, I fell in love


at the slightest touch– autumn leaves floating

in a pond, the draft of winter wind through


the window. Now I’m older and more ragged

(the other day I tossed a rug with a painting


of a lion so I could replace it with speckled

blue) and, certainly, with so much heat death


to look forward to.





you couldn’t sleep until three;


my consciousness abandoned you hours earlier.

and when your alarm chimed in the early morning,


you said I hate being up, and there was an ant searching

along the spine of your novel. we watched, for a moment,


before you crushed it with your thumb. crawling up the bedpost

was another. I should have told you, you said. I should have told you.







James Croal Jackson (he/him) is a Filipino-American poet. He has two chapbooks, Our Past Leaves (Kelsay Books, forthcoming 2021) and The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017), with recent poems in White Wall Review, Subnivean, and Hello America. He edits The Mantle Poetry (themantlepoetry.com) from Pittsburgh, PA. (jamescroaljackson.com)




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