Jacqueline Jules

The Last Straw

On the camel’s back.
The proverbial one.

Will it be
the ambulance arriving
last night, flashing through
the windows yet again?

The final object added
to burdens already carried?

Have I been waiting
these past few years
to welcome it?

My excuse
to sink to the ground
with broken bones.
To proclaim, “Enough!
I don’t have to get up
this time. Enough!”

Even camels,
who can go ten days
without water, survive
long journeys in harsh heat,
collapse under the weight
of one extra wisp.

Or is that only a fable?

A fictitious tale to warn
whoever is in charge
that there must be limits
on what one back must bear.

Narrow Bridge


“The world is a narrow bridge and the most important thing is not be afraid.”
—Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav.

I stand on a narrow bridge,
the width of a whisper,
connecting today to tomorrow.

The abyss breathes below,
ready to swallow my screams.

Once, I trusted
in a tender Presence
steadying my elbow,
providing a rail.

Now, I am tempted to look down.

To question the choice to cross at all.

But the most important thing,
I am told,
is not to fear.

Keep moving.
On tiptoe, if need be.

Stop waiting
for something to hold.


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 The Literary Nest, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Glass, Beltway Poetry, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Gargoyle, and Connecticut River Review. She is also the author of forty books for young readers. Visit her online at www.jacquelinejules.com

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