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     The Literary Review
                                                                      Issue 8

Page 67

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House of Miracles

I don’t remember the phrase, spray-painted
on a house in Wilkinsburg, that caught you
on the way to work some May or June day–
it couldn’t have been Miracles do happen–
too cliché. It was some unexpected inverse.
I remember you mentioned you liked to think
there was a man named Miracle in there
(this must be a clue) – the details elude
me. Reflecting, it seems miraculous to have
survived this haze of spring turned summer,
fall– memory’s the rain hovering over our fake
Centennial Park. I kept throwing sacks of dust
into the spot on the cornhole board that would
end the game, but as the game kept going,
the show kept steering to the opposite end of reality.

                                                 In my mind, this house–
                                                wooden panels splinting, gray paint chipping–
                                                was surrounded by overgrown grass
                                                becoming harder and harder to see past.
                                                You cut the grass, the grass grows faster!

This show was like that. Have you seen
the viral video of the tree just struck
by lightning? The inside’s raging red,
an orange flame self-contained, but
I like to think that tree was in Miracle’s
lawn, and he was zen in tending
to the heat and ever-growing grass.
But all the forces were conspiring–
twice the office toilet wouldn’t stop
running beyond reasonable control.
The first time was the first week, when
it flooded the floor and drowned
the executive offices. You sent me
to Busy Beaver to buy a monkey
wrench, but no matter how we turned,
the water seeped past carpet.

                                                The second time was at the end. We had
                                                all lived hell, survived it. The water was
                                                relentless, but this time, when you went
                                                in, there was a crowd outside the bathroom
                                                door asking if it was over– the flood, the
                                                show. This time, it was different. You fixed it.

  James Croal Jackson__

The Weeds Went Wild with You Gone

back patio a jungle I pick green
ponytails out of slits of brick this
scalp of opportune flowers formed
from neglect this chaos nature
moving into void monsters at
the edges of my house skulk
and grow in spite of chemical
mist and pulling what cannot
be contained within a fence

  James Croal Jackson__

Space Puzzle

We stayed all night to finish a puzzle
of the universe and still I feel no closer to
the center of it all, this box of disparate edges,
only microscopic in your worldview as our static
fades. Our feet were pressed together as we placed
the final voids in their lust on the 4 A.M. floor, long
after the wild dogs left us for the February arctic.

I wanted there to be black vastness when we were done–
a suffocation of no oxygen so necessary to pull our
gravities close to stay warm and survive as humans
must. But such is the fantasy of space– we’ll never die
astronauts on the floor in M’s apartment, growing
more distant each moment we don’t leave the surface.

  James Croal Jackson__


Delaware Avenue

A thousand nights on the patio wine-
drunk only desire of the moon
between us. Jack’s barking was the
beating drum that kept us up all
night, and we’d just turn speakers
up to drown our axis in music.
I said I never want to be away
from you – what you responded
was aspens, cherry blossoms
near the end of March.

  James Croal Jackson__

ferns a memoriam

ferns a memoriam
in the room of you

the four walls    the plaster    so what
we would have had a life
together not just be alive
                                              so what

I’ve learned to lose the leaves
the old days
   reminisce in new nostalgia
created from a new & better era

my body alcohol’s punching bag
but the nights!    no straight-edge
James    nerdy
                        yes but one that
lets me lets me lets me
grieve in the light

  James Croal Jackson__

Nearly December & You Have Moved

to California & the rain has yet
to become ice so I place words
to freeze upon the windshield

of your heart (warm breath, traced
fingerprints). No memory
scrapes. Never lose sight of

tiny wonderments. However long
it takes to break through frozen
dreams– what fails to melt?

  James Croal Jackson__