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"The New", "Scrub", "Fade" & "You Ask If I Want Children" by James Croal Jackson

The New

If someone jumped I’d jump

into the warm whatever of mid-


I’d not leap as the

maneuver’s overused– I understand

these liminal expectations from


if I haven’t quite mastered

the rudimentary mechanics

of swimming. I am the sediment

from a different continent rising

to you as loam scraping against

sand. You said wave, I said wind.

The red tide carried us. Whatever.

We ended at Point B. The alternate

universe if you’d call it that.

But I said the stop sign.

I said all kinds of things

as you drove through

ocean construction.


the provision

the carcass


the carcass

a carcass

to provide

the carcass



Barber shop this morning– an old man

talks about his sixty-year high

school reunion, how even

if he could afford to

go, the seven friends

he wants to see

he never



You Ask If I Want Children

The answer is perpetuate

humanity. The answer is nothing

is certain, but we know that.

We will go into the shrouded

wood as the sun sets onward,

as the world spins through

another autumn getting older,

not wiser. The leaf flutters.

What we want to catch

always eludes our grasp.

James Croal Jackson is a Filipino-American poet who works in film production. His latest chapbooks are Count Seeds With Me (Ethel Zine & Micro-Press, 2022) and Our Past Leaves (Kelsay Books, 2021). Recent poems are in Stirring, Vilas Avenue, and *82 Review. He edits The Mantle Poetry from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (

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