I TELL HER I LOVE HER
James Croal Jackson
I tell my girlfriend I love her
before we go to bed every night.
I tell her I love her in front of
slot machines spinning statistics,
neon colors blinding eyes beyond
our blur of vodka. I tell her I love her
before we fight in a tent on the beach
drunken under blankets and after that, too.
I don't tell my mom I love her
on the phone when she’s alone
in her bedroom, when she cries
many nights because her twenty-
nine year marriage exists only in memories,
photographs, marginalia, in musk
of dried sweat on forest-green cargos.
He had dragged an oak limb
after soft rain; now crusted mud–
crevices alive in the treading
of boots traces new footsteps
on less-traversed floors.
James Croal Jackson’s poetry has appeared in The Bitter Oleander, Rust+Moth, Whale Road, and other publications. He grew up in Akron, Ohio, spent a few years in Los Angeles, traveled the country in his Ford Fiesta, and now lives in Columbus, Ohio. Find more at jimjakk.com.