Index of Seeing

Bear
   If you see it, don’t use the word “bear”, 7

Court
   Of the gods and goddesses, 8
   Sacred wind scored hill, 10
   Trees are giants, 12

Inchworm
   Look down, 1
   Moving at inchworm speed, 11

Path
   Past, see Future
   Future, see Past

Selkie
   Becoming a poet, 9
   Skin a temporary home, 99

Priya Keefe’s work has appeared on a Dublin lamppost, in Seattle buses, and in Seattle City Council meetings. It has been spied in Five:2:One, The American Journal of Poetry, Outlook Springs, and elsewhere.

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Dandruff

Poems are my flecks of skin I
want people to take home

After a reading last year Jordan told me
he likes my poems but they are only

skin cells
So Jordan wants my blood

wants to syringe my heart
and keep it in a bottle

That’s what I did

then he said I want to be inside you
So he wants to wear my skin

A me hanging in a closet limp
and lifeless   A clothesline
of me and me and me

to be opened like a coin
purse and slip in

Yes. Jordan says
he wants to eat me

James Croal Jackson (he/him) has a chapbook, The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017), and poems in Pacifica, Reservoir, and Rattle. He edits The Mantle Poetry. Currently, he works in the film industry in Pittsburgh, PA. His website: https://jimjakk.com.

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“I’m Not Dead, I’m Dormant!”

                                    – sign posted by the African Tree Grape
                                    at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical
                                    Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

meaning
I love you I love you
or I did it’s not dead
I swear in my heart
there’s our little room
full of dust
your fingerprints
on the window
we’re not dead
but we’re trying
to figure this living-
together shit
and not take
our suitcases
boxes
of handwritten cards
Miami Post-its
and the cats
oh my god the cats
litter the house with
stars we’d sweep
for trash night
on Thursday
with all the puffy
white bags
that sometimes rip
and leave grape
stems
on the sidewalk

James Croal Jackson (he/him) has a chapbook, The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017), and poems in Pacifica, Reservoir, and Rattle. He edits The Mantle Poetry. Currently, he works in the film industry in Pittsburgh, PA. His website: https://jimjakk.com.

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In the Night Time Car

Dark and spacious carriage –
architecture splits before me,

chunks of wood floating in green pond.
Summertime was a memory

I ate like strawberries
behind the wheel. Sticky khaki shorts

and burnt-out suns
encapsulate the void

closing in: a blood pressure monitor
on my pale and hairless arm.

James Croal Jackson (he/him) has a chapbook, The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017), and poems in Pacifica, Reservoir, and Rattle. He edits The Mantle Poetry. Currently, he works in the film industry in Pittsburgh, PA. His website: https://jimjakk.com.

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The Other Winter

One day I’ll have to leave
your house & venture
into blizzard–

love, we found each other
frozen in a field
of withered stalks

& each embrace since
has used up precious warmth.

We warm ourselves
& hold on tight
for the other winter to strike,

the day our thawing hearts
will freeze again.

James Croal Jackson (he/him) has a chapbook, The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017), and poems in Pacifica, Reservoir, and Rattle. He edits The Mantle Poetry. Currently, he works in the film industry in Pittsburgh, PA. His website: https://jimjakk.com.

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Discipline

June 1953, the second-floor classroom
is motionless in the heat. Miss Johnson balances
the long white wooden pole above us.

The muscles of her short thick arms
are knotted; moisture thickens on her upper lip.

She hooks the pole end in the metal groove
and pulls the top sash down.
                                                And then
a black bird in the white-hot room.

Miss Johnson’s obedient children,
the twenty-six of us sit—quiet, waiting—

one with this sudden wild idea, its dark
wings beating against the plaster walls
and high white ceiling, frantic to get out.

This is a reprint of work originally published in Prick of the Spindle.

Bob Meszaros taught English at Hamden High School in Hamden, Connecticut, for thirty-two years. He retired from high school teaching in June of 1999. During the 70s and 80s his poems appeared in a number of literary journals, such as En Passant and Voices International. In the year 2000 he began teaching part time at Quinnipiac University, and he began once again to submit his work for publication. His poems have subsequently appeared in Connecticut Review, Main Street Rag, Red Wheelbarrow, Tar River Poetry, Concho River Review, and many other literary journals.

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Together at Eighty

April, and the mallards are back.
First, the hens; then, the drakes:
one by one they drop feet first
into our sun-struck leafless pond.

Days of flapping wings, of head
pumping and endless preening,
of grunts and low-toned whistles,
of sudden moments mounted,
of battered bodies quickly spent.

Flightless, brittle, together still,
we leave our bedroom windows
open while the chase is on, before
the blues and purples disappear;
before the tattered feathers molt.

Bob Meszaros taught English at Hamden High School in Hamden, Connecticut, for thirty-two years. He retired from high school teaching in June of 1999. During the 70s and 80s his poems appeared in a number of literary journals, such as En Passant and Voices International. In the year 2000 he began teaching part time at Quinnipiac University, and he began once again to submit his work for publication. His poems have subsequently appeared in Connecticut Review, Main Street Rag, Red Wheelbarrow, Tar River Poetry, Concho River Review, and many other literary journals.

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