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"When I Grow Up, I Want to Be an Astronaut" by James Croal Jackson

the balloons inside

float in swarms

of blackbirds straight

toward a helium moon.

oh to sink my living

teeth into that tethered

object and gnaw it

from orbit. to be so

antigravity I antiquate

everything new at its

source of radiant

blooming. orange-

petaled I read in verse

as a kid, grew restless

in sleep. I fear I may

become the astronaut

that plucks the nearest

star. another apple

from the garden.

James Croal Jackson is a Filipino-American poet who works in film production. His latest chapbooks are A God You Believed In (Pinhole Poetry, 2023) and Count Seeds With Me (Ethel Zine & Micro-Press, 2022). Recent poems are in Hello America, Little Patuxent Review, and Ballast Poetry Journal. He edits The Mantle Poetry from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (

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