the gorge is endless & insatiable

there is a river, then many mouths

& there is your mother

in the next room cooking soup

& there is a mother

on screen bent over stovetop

with stepson rocking back

& forth into hunger

& now spoons clank

on plate before dinner

& your privacy settings–

a closed door

& now your father

home from work

& now the stepfather

makes his daughter behave

& your sister

walks in off the bus

& now the step-sister

removes the mushroom of her skirt

taking her brother by the name

of their familiar


which is all relative

to the mold of a home

all mildew & dust

spiderweb & tangle

& turn of doorknob

to walk years

through thin hallways

of broken light

fixtures & coughs

to sit in the dining room

all together & eat

years of steaming

garlic, basil, tomato,




 James Croal Jackson is the author of The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017). His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in FLAPPERHOUSE, Yes Poetry, Serving House Journal, and elsewhere. He edits The Mantle. Find him in Columbus, Ohio or at

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