Competition is a cedar you settled

with. Because I was digging holes

all over Texas rooting you another

tree. Oh, Fort Worth could’ve been

the birthplace of a forest, but Austin’s

expanding rapidly, oaks overgrown

with branches lugging encumbering

ambitions. I know. I’ve lived

in Nashville. Los Angeles.

There is no life of transience

without large cockroaches

squished on sidewalks.

James Croal Jackson

James Croal Jackson (he/him) has a chapbook, The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017), and poems in Pacifica, Reservoir, and Rattle. He edits The Mantle ( Currently, he works in the film industry in Pittsburgh, PA. (

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