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SHJ Issue 17
Fall 2017

[Two Poems]

by James Croal Jackson

After the Lancaster Beer Festival

I want you to read this:
my night was the endless Niagara.

Love, flowing along sediment 
of bones and thorny breathing,

ends on a brown couch of dog 
and cat hair nice against my jeans.

I woke there next to a loaded potato gun.
Can’t stop writing dirty things 

on the Buddha board
hoping you will read them. 

If not you, 

My bones’ silence
breathes thorns.

And the message always 
erases itself.



to cut immigration 
is to cut me in half

half-Filipino I am already 
halved quartered diced you take 

a knife to my mother she keeps 
a knife at her neck we both are 

American in the blade of the word 
I used to pretend to be more 

my more-accepted half
to have to choose

is to have nothing


SHJ Issue 17
Fall 2017

James Croal Jackson

is the author of The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017). His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in FLAPPERHOUSE, After the Pause, The Indianapolis Review, and elsewhere. He edits The Mantle poetry journal. Find him in Columbus, Ohio or at his website:

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury