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Jacqueline Jules: Three Poems

Selected by Alexis Rhone Fancher, Poetry Editor

Wherever You Go, I Will Go

Seeing the words alone,
you might think they were spoken
by a woman sacrificing her needs
to follow a man. Instead, Ruth’s pledge
to Naomi proclaimed a bond
between two women, navigating
a world where widows
survived on leftover grain
and the kindness of kinsman.

Much is made of Ruth’s marriage
to Boaz, how a righteous convert
declared your people will be my people,
and became the great-grandmother
of David, the king, line of the Messiah.

May we not forget how the story began,
with two homeless, grief-stricken women,
supporting each other through hard times.

*

Jochebed

Baby Moses floated
down the Nile,
in a basket caulked
with bitumen and pitch,
carefully constructed
from a mother’s
calculated choice
to set her child adrift
amid crocodiles
rather than see him slain
before her eyes.

I think of Jochebed today
as I set you down among tall reeds
knowing you will float
to a fate beyond my grasp
in a wicker basket
I can’t make watertight.

But clamping you against my breast
will not keep soldiers or crocodiles away.

So I stand aside, praying for a princess
to scoop you from the water with a kiss.

*

A Rare Soul

David hid in a field,
watching Jonathan raise his bow,
trusting the son of King Saul
to shoot arrows as a signal to flee.

Why?

By then, Jonathan should have
seen David as a rival.
Should have considered
using the weapon in his hand
to please his father
and secure the throne
he lost by saving David’s life.

Instead, Jonathan remained the friend
who honored David with his own
cloak and tunic, literally
offering the shirt off his back.

Maybe Jonathan was impressed,
like everyone else, by the boy
who slew the giant Goliath
with a simple slingshot.

Or maybe he was just a rare soul, unlike
the rest of us, happy to be remembered
as the most loyal of friends,
instead of a powerful king.

 

Photo credit: the Poet’s Husband

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