Jacqueline Jules

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.


Short-term feeling

or unchangeable fact?


I am sad.


Today? Or always?


Soy implies

enduring state.

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.

Not forever.


Safe Conversations

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.