The most confident people I know
walk into a room and flowers bloom
from their mouths and somehow it’s not weird.
I have never been that kind of social chameleon.
In public speaking class I spoke until vines
wrapped around my neck and I coughed and
choked until I sat down. I am a little better
since then but it’s arrogant to believe I’ve snipped
this looming, twisting stem. I’m trying to be
better around strangers but I recently walked
into a public garden and a petunia tapped
me on the shoulder and said my name
and tapped me and said my name again
and when I finally looked it took
awhile for the petals to disappear
from her face to see it was a friend.
James Croal Jackson is the author of The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017). His poetry has appeared in Rattle, Columbia Journal, Hobart, and elsewhere. He edits The Mantle from Columbus, Ohio. Find more at jimjakk.com