ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

A journal for poetry, criticism, reviews, stories and essays published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998.


THINGS I CAN'T HAVE BACK, by Jacqueline Jules.

The pink silk scarf left on a flight to Chicago.
The blue suit with pearl buttons ripped at the cleaners.
The silver earring mangled in the garbage disposal.


Along with the trust I felt in tomorrow
when I boarded that plane, pink protection
draping my neck

or walked into the dry cleaners with my ticket,

or scrubbed dishes at my kitchen sink,
earrings tinkling side to side.

The silver was bent beyond repair.
It won’t shine by my cheek again
won’t be an amulet

against crying in the doctor’s office,
calling 911 with shortened breath,
or sitting in the seat closest to the casket.

The law grants immunity, not life.

I can be tried again. Hear the gavel pound.
My friends and family gasp.

Add this loss to the list

with the pink scarf, blue suit, silver earring—

things I thought I needed to possess
but somehow have managed without.



Book Cover Stronger Than Cleopatra by Jacqueline Jules J. Jules is the author of the poetry chapbooks, Field Trip to the Museum, published by Finishing Line Press, and Stronger Than Cleopatra, just published by ELJ Publications. Her poetry has appeared in over 100 publications including Issue #53 of OffCourse, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Third Wednesday, Poetica, Soundings Review, Imitation Fruit, Connecticut River Review, and Pirene's Fountain. She is also the author of two dozen books for young readers including the Zapato Power series, No English, Sarah Laughs, and Never Say a Mean Word Again. You can visit her online at

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