Jacqueline Jules

Three Poems

Patience

“The patient person shows much good sense, but the quick-tempered one displays folly at its height.” 

                                                                                                                                   —Proverbs 14:29

It’s a heavy box
I can’t drop without
smashing my toe.
 
A prompt.
 
Reminding me
to set the package down
before speaking.
 
To consider what will burn
before I strike a match.
 
To take advantage
of the split second
before the flicker lights the fuse
when the flame could sputter,
and the hot anger between us
could fade to warmth.

 

The Wisdom of Trees
 
Trees in a forest do not compete.
They form networks underground,
sharing nutrients, nurturing the weak.
 
No wonder trees can live
for thousands of years
growing taller, stronger,
tops touching the sky.
 
While we humans
wither below, fighting
for food and space,
rarely surviving
past one hundred.

 

The Little Girl in the Picture

A little girl
with mahogany skin,
in a milk-white dress,
marches to school
between four faceless men in suits.
Her small white sneakers
trample on a shameful tradition,
symbolized
by a hurled tomato
bleeding on a concrete wall.
“That’s me,” Ruby Bridges admits
forty years later: the little girl
Rockwell painted, Steinbeck described,
and papers all over the country
featured as front page news.
Her name was not printed
until decades after the weight
of her six-year-old feet
broke the stone steps
of school segregation
all across the south.

 


Jacqueline Jules is the author of three chapbooks, Field Trip to the Museum (Finishing Line Press), Stronger Than Cleopatra (ELJ Publications), and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. Her work has appeared in over 100 publications including Beltway Poetry News, Innisfree Poetry Journal, The Paterson Literary Review, Cider Press Review, Potomac Review, Inkwell, Hospital Drive, and Imitation Fruit. She lives in Arlington, Virginia. Visit her online at https://metaphoricaltruths.blogspot.com/


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