Issue 4 – Jules

Jacqueline Jules


To jumpstart pencils and unglue eyes
frightened by blank paper,
I prompt my new class with a question:

If you could be an animal, an object, a plant—
anything besides the little bodies imprisoned in
those short, steel desks before me—
what would you choose?

Poised with a black marker in my hand,
I stand by the white board,
listening for the obedient scratch
of sharpened lead across notebooks.
The first week of school in this air conditioned room,
five states from where I was born, will finish in one hour.

I think ahead to weekend garden plans.

Daylilies, wait in my new yard—
dense and in need of division.
Daylilies, willing to move without fuss
to a less crowded spot
where they will brighten the view
from a different window.
Daylilies—can be ripped from the earth,
carried miles away, and still bloom
with bright orange smiles in a new location.
They are tolerant of drought,
equally in love with sun or rain,
able to extend their long green arms with ease.
Daylilies. Yes, if I could be anything
other than the homesick human I am,
that is what I would be.