James Croal Jackson

you practice the scorpion on your back porch
while your cat wanders about like she has
somewhere to go and we don’t

you stretch the sky darkens and fireflies
illuminate the fence the cat wants to scale
I ask what of your qualities you see in her
you say she’s an affectionate asshole

I drink another of your beers we have
talked for weeks about how I never
seem comfortable anywhere I go with anyone

you don’t think I’m a vine that has found
its wall to climb even cats want walls
they know their limits I’m not sure what mine are
how high or should I even try

then what?

Author's Commentary: This poem was inspired by someone I briefly dated. I was over at her house, and we had trouble clicking entirely– at one point, to make conversation, I asked her if she shared any qualities with her cat. She responded almost immediately: "she's an affectionate asshole." We went on one more date after that, then sort of lost touch.

James Croal Jackson Pic.jpg

James Croal Jackson is the author of The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017). His poetry has appeared in Hobart, FLAPPERHOUSE, Yes Poetry, and elsewhere. He edits The Mantle from Columbus, Ohio. Find more at jimjakk.com.