Summer Sputter

I like the way you hug you squeeze me
like an almost-empty ketchup bottle to
wring the last sputter of my worth. We
spent one laborious summer in the sun,
almost burnt in cigarettes. You walked
your boss’s dog and your boss walked
you on trails we walked by the river.
Walked us. Communion with
the trees, canopy shade, we looked to
the river, in those moments endless.

Poem by James Croal Jackson

Image by Adam Strong

James Croal Jackson works in film production. His most recent chapbooks are Count Seeds With Me (Ethel Zine & Micro-Press, 2022) and Our Past Leaves (Kelsay Books, 2021). Recent poems are in Stirring, SAND, and Vilas Avenue. He edits The Mantle Poetry from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (

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