i carry infection in saliva

like a point of pride

 

see, my city reeks of bone


tall skeleton skyscrapers

i’m numb again

 

as dental drill enters me

year after year

 

what birthed my decays?

 

raised to desire new

wants every day

 

wanting even wanting

 

my dad worked at a ford factory

after the great depression

 

churned out a new kid

every few years

 

seasons of rust

spreading on steel

 

here’s the sunset

he’d wake us to say &

 

spend the days molding

the yard

rough hands on saw

 

that was satisfactory

to him

 

for me oaks are cold towers &

grass not godmade

 

took a clump in my mouth

from the graveyard as a child &

 

i swear i tasted

death

but could not digest it

 

i’m but a skeleton

 

all life’s experiences

slip through me

 

masticating childhood

no pondering

the future with mom and dad

 

scooping fries at ponderosa &

 

we’d always go for seconds &

 

mint ice cream after

 

 

by James Croal Jackson

James Croal Jackson is the author of The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017). His poetry has appeared in Rattle, Columbia Journal, Hobart, and elsewhere. He edits The Mantle, a poetry journal, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Find more at jimjakk.com.

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