Two Poems by Jacqueline Jules






Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving

My mother framed the Rockwell painting.

That image of matriarch in white apron

setting down white platter

with turkey large enough to feed

all the smiling faces at the table.


Everyone’s eyes gleam with affection

anticipating a meal as delectable as manna.


Every mouth is happy to heap praise

as generously as they spoon mashed potatoes.


No one longs to be anywhere else

with anyone else.


“It’s the way it’s supposed to be,”

my mother often said with red nose

and wet handkerchief

as year after year

her dining room bore no resemblance

to Norman Rockwell’s painting,

particularly the pleased patriarch

standing behind his wife.


The picture hangs on my wall, too,

as I sit at an undressed table

to eat cold cereal with a book

written by a family therapist

happy to explain

why idealized images

damage self-esteem.


Dry Needling

If you stick a needle

in a hyper-irritable spot,

taut muscles will relax,

my therapist says.


I laugh at his silly plan.

Better to tease a tiger

than poke the pain.


My therapist insists.


Find the trigger. Stick

a needle in the spot.

Push till you feel

your grief twist

and twitch.


Disrupt the spasm

pinching the nerve

tighter and tighter.

“Dry Needling” appears in Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press.


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, Helen Kay Chapbook Prize 2016). Her work has appeared in over 100 publications including Burgeon, Gargoyle, Beltway Poetry, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Little Patuxent Review, and The Broadkill Review. Visit her online at where you will see that she is also the author of 40 books for young readers including the Zapato Power series and Never Say a Mean Word Again.

Photo by Joe Mabel [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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