Golden Gate

James Croal Jackson
I listened, during that foggy morning stroll
on the Golden Gate, when you alluded
to what it must mean to jump
or, specifically, how it must feel
to fall.
The foghorn blared every five minutes
from some ship we could not find beneath us.
We peered our heads over the low railing
and inhaled the gray.
Red telephones pleaded
as if we could provide. I can still hear the ringing
from the smashed hotel receiver,
thin wires dangling, winding
into lines on our palms, curved
and infinite– an atlas to guide whispers
we cupped in our hands
at night.
I feared . . . faraway screams,
or the deafening sound of cymbals, shards
of metal launched from the hinges
of anything previously thought secure–
I would do anything to protect you.
I did not expect . . .
in an instant, without percussion–
I did not expect the fog– how
sterile it seems, like the afterlife, how
it turns the familiar into silhouettes–
to make this any easier.

James Croal Jackson grew up in Akron, Ohio. After graduating from Baldwin Wallace University, he spent a few years in Los Angeles. After that, he traveled the country in his beloved Ford Fiesta for several months until he landed in Columbus, Ohio, where he now resides. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Bitter Oleander, Rust + Moth, Skylark Review, Thin Air, Lines+Stars, and others. Find out more at

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