2 Poems by James Croal Jackson


Vodka I would glug from a wound
on my forearm, health preached and instructed.

I said I saw a liver pumping liquid from the sky
but the crowd called it cirrus. I could not differentiate

lust from love, not in the waning daylight,
not when I am trying to make it

the rest of the year wanting to forget
its starting incident (the backyard pond

shimmering in the moonlight amidst televisions
of confetti). The public countdown ends

at zero but I keep counting, never an end in sight,
always with my eye on the next

golden apple to descend into a crowd.

Take the City, Too

you say a package was
stolen from your porch

I am just trying to stay out
of the rain

vent blowing frigid air
through this new home

& you tell me Robert witnessed
the van speeding beyond the jangled suburbs

as if thievery need be
so complicated

stealing happens
on the sidewalk

these blankets of concrete cracked
beneath high-rises

a UPS truck sputters past a pothole
right turn signal blinking, blinking

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)