Grey Sparrow CoverApril 2011 IssueCrushed. Red and white boxes.
Perfect filters, lights, trays
lazy smoke swirling, relief;
lost in the week's debris.

Clenched. Fists in tattered
pockets. Feeble resolve
rising need and fallen
comfort; tasteless.

Demanding smile, petite feet  
glide across the old cement
beach. Arms fluttering, she
jumps into the verdant sea.

Commands, look at me, Mama.
Dance like a jellyfish, Mama—
like me. Momentarily safe,
temporarily free.


Author's note:

I stopped smoking August 15th, 2001. In the days following 9-11 and my sister-in-law's suicide that November, I struggled to not begin smoking again.

On a beautiful November day, my oldest daughter, Jillian and I were outside on the front porch. She listened to me complain about how awful life was without cigarettes. After fifteen minutes or so, she stood up in front of me and began moving her body up and down while walking sideways with bent knees and floating her arms beside her in the strangest fashion. I said, "What are you, an octopus?" Jillian said, "No, I'm a dancing jellyfish. Come on, Mom. Dance like a Jellyfish! Like me." She looked so beautiful and silly, I couldn't help but laugh. I forgot about smoking and danced like a jellyfish.

(August 15th, 2013 is the twelve year anniversary of my quit date.)


Original Publisher: Grey Sparrow Journal online version
and Print Version - Issue 8 - Spring 2011 (Purchase a copy)

Reprinted with permission in The Glass Sponge
Publisher: Finishing Line Press

Publish Dates

May 2013

Jules Jacob

Jules Jacob PoetJules Jacob is the author of Kingdom of Glass & Seed (forthcoming Lily Poetry Review Books, October 8, 2023), The Glass Sponge, a semi-finalist in The New Women's Voices Series (Finishing Line Press), and co-author with Sonja Johanson of Rappaccini's Garden (White Stag Press, forthcoming December 2023). Her poems are featured in Lily Poetry Review, Plume Poetry, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Rust + Moth, and elsewhere. Jules is the recipient of a fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts at Le Moulin à Nef, Auvillar, France.

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