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James Croal Jackson


I have been inside

a marketing firm

with its own basketball court.

Uninspired employees huffed

then daggered meaningless

the hoop, hoping for renewal,

but no one kept score.

I could relate:

attending Catholic school,

I found it necessary

to ask for forgiveness

in the shower.

I had come to fear

a red-fanged Satan

sporting a porn ‘stache

waiting by the mirror,

covering himself with

a towel, fork in hand–

and me, behind childhood

curtains covered in soot,

water rushing, my body

seal-like from ablution.


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 from Columbus, Ohio. Find more at

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