Feathers in a Folktale

The rabbi told the gossip
to rip open a pillow
and release the feathers
to the wind.

“Now bring them back,”
the rabbi ordered.
“Every single one.”

Scattered everywhere,
the fluffy white wisps
couldn’t be caught
just like what she said
can’t be gathered up
and sewn back inside
a cotton case.

Yet you ask me to forgive.

To imagine
how light I would feel
if I let her words fly
like feathers in that folktale
never to return.

Acquired Skills

Before you learned how.
You paddled in panic,
feeling your body sink.

You couldn’t lean back
stretch your arms like a starfish,
gaze at the clouds.

You couldn’t imagine
how buoyant your body could be,
if you let the water support
your weight, suspend the fear
of being submerged.

Before you learned how.
Swimming was an acquired skill.
Something other people did,
like meditation or yoga or prayer.

Remember that
the next time your heart pounds
and you feel as if your lungs
are filling with water, not air.

The Advantage of a Fairy Godmother

Running away at midnight,
Cinderella lost her glass slipper.

A key item in the final act
when the mistreated girl
sheds her cinders,
reveals her beauty,
and takes the hand
of the handsome prince.

Patience and courage
finally rewarded
while evil stepsisters
writhe and whine.

A story of triumph
told around the world,
promising fortune
to the downtrodden soul
lucky enough to be blessed
with a fairy godmother
who provides a new gown
and glass slippers.

Angels

I’ve felt them.

Warning me.
To get that spot on my nose checked.
To pause at the corner. To grab the baby
before she rolled off the bed.

And most notably,
that Saturday night by the hotel pool,
when I was as calm as the beach ball
floating beneath the flood lights.

Leaning back in the blue-webbed recliner,
I had a memory of my mother’s fingers
back when I was small, patiently untangling
my freshly washed curls.

Moments later, my cell rang
with the news from the nurse.
“Unexpected,” she said.
“Your mom was fine at dinner.”

Angels.

I’ve felt them.

Like the sensation of hands
stroking my hair.

Jacqueline Jules is the author of Manna in the Morning (Kelsay Books, 2021) and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, 2016 winner of the Helen Kay Chapbook Prize by Evening Street Press. Her work has appeared in over 100 publications including Bourgeon, The Paterson Literary Review, Potomac Review, Hospital Drive, and Imitation Fruit. She is also the author of 50 books for young readers including Tag Your Dreams: Poems of Play and Persistence (Albert Whitman, 2020). Visit her online at https://metaphoricaltruths.blogspot.com/


By Flickr.com user “brokenchopstick” – https://www.flickr.com/photos/brokenchopstick/290244138/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1379936

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