The map leads from bloom to wing
to sky– we followed gracefully before
black swan wings haunted our spines.
I was tangled in the garden of words
and you did not believe a thing
I said. I cowered in sagebrush
to study flying squirrels (the wingless
claim the sky). I told you I would never tell
another lie because what is truth
in an ephemeral garden, where the birdsong
of thrashers becomes language?
I attempt to look away from truth
but the truth is, nothing in this world
shocks me any more than when I crane my head
to see the nightmare we have become.
James Croal Jackson’s poetry has appeared in The Bitter Oleander, Rust + Moth, Cosmonauts Avenue, and elsewhere. His first chapbook is forthcoming from Writing Knights Press. He is the 2016 William Redding Memorial Poetry Contest winner in his current city of Columbus, Ohio. Visit him at jimjakk.com.