my skin carries the radiation of phone 

glow the radio.  Of something static


     O Arizona.     Azure eyes & sandy 

cries just an echo.   I want to say I am 


hallowed. That I carried your branches 

with me too as extra arms but I am 


night and limb- and lone-     liness. 

I am spider I am timeless. If I may


please say another thing about deserts 

we share an emptiness.




Distance Makes the Heart


grow fonder, or so is said, 

but I’ve learned it as distance

makes the heart forget us


the equation is miles plus 

time equals a greater radius,

as between words dangling


on a phone line, or inflections

slung from mouths through

the atmosphere onto a satellite,


far removed from its origin, 

home now absolute zero, cosmos 

cold and steel, this floating coffin


a language of longing, your voice

massaging my eardrums until





Forks and Merges


under salmon sunset

a box truck 


wearing red lipstick


in a car we celebrate 

forks and merges

drivers get to choose



but the Devil was clear

kept the chimney burning

to keep the world alive


in time He will

learn to play

His guitar



You ask for a dolly, I offer a hand


Having a crush means this structure

will one day come crumbling. 

You come home high and stare at 

the mirror and tell me maybe everything 

will be better with makeup


I ask what this means and 

you hold your birthday crayons 

over a blank page and draw

a tomato garden, a vine in a vase– 

though in the soil someone has 

lodged a cigarette still burning.


James Croal Jackson (he/him) has a chapbook, The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017), and poems in Pacifica, Reservoir, and indefinite space. He edits The Mantle ( Currently, he works in the film industry in Pittsburgh, PA. (


4 thoughts on “Four Poems by James Croal Jackson

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