Jacqueline Jules is the author of three chapbooks, Field Trip to the Museum (Finishing Line Press), Stronger Than Cleopatra (ELJ Publications), and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. Her work has appeared in over 100 publications including Poetica, Beltway Poetry News, Cider Press Review, Potomac Review, Inkwell, Hospital Drive, and Imitation Fruit. She is also the author of 40 books for young readers. Visit www.jacquelinejules.com
Ser and Estar
With two forms of “to be”
I must pause and consider.
or unchangeable fact?
I am sad.
Today? Or always?
Unlike estoy, used
for a passing mood.
Am I sad? ¿Soy triste?
A person labeled by tears.
Or am I sad? Estoy triste.
Today. Not always.
by Jacqueline Jules
I swirl the white wine in my glass
and start with the weather—a brief topic
for a sunny October day. Fall colors, so lovely.
Weather exhausted, we move
to entertainment. Do you watch much TV?
Not tricky as long as I don’t name
my choice of late night talk show host,
revealing my politics.
That leaves family—
safe for most, but not for me.
How many children? How old?
“Two,” I could answer. “One in New York and one
under a bronze plaque in Birch Memorial Garden.”
But of course, I don’t tell this Janice I just met
about the son whose seed sleeps beneath the ground.
I gush about living grandchildren:
age 2 and age 4, adorable as can be.
Best to keep it breezy before parting
to take my glass across the room for a refill.
So I end with “What do you do?”
Watch her cheeks redden
as she mumbles “between jobs.”
Stare into my own glass. At least I’m not the only one
with answers I’d rather not share.