Death, 2009 (College) /

James Croal Jackson



Flowers & God–

you tell me, slipshod,

there’s an afterlife

in the party we’re cheersing

to tonight our whole life

with small glasses of Granddad’s,

noisemakers, & drinking

games. I’d like to drown

the tissues

in something, listen to Gaelic

music like Dad used to

driving us from school with Pizza Hut

wafting from the trunk those

sunny afternoons. & now that you’ve

lost someone you’re willing to lose

your Bill Hicks views-sense-

of-self-meaning like we all

funnel ethereal spirit into sky

& swig the rain with

drunken angels I know

you know you’re better than that.

I know you know once

the last attendee’s passed out

on the couch heavy breathing

lips purple you’d check

on him, too. You’d be alone

in the house you grew up in

with phone in your hand

calm and through the static of 911

racing to get the address out

the foaming of your mouth

and when a cop comes you

beg please don’t break this party up

and deny the red flashing lights




James Croal Jackson is the author of The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017). His poetry has appeared in Columbia Journal, Rattle, Hobart, FLAPPERHOUSE, and elsewhere. He edits The Mantlefrom Columbus, Ohio. Find him at and @jimjakk.