ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Jacqueline Jules


Annie Anxious

Annie Anxious is yanking my arm.
“Come,” she coaxes, “to the basement.”

“I’ll remind you how to bite your nails, pace the floors.”

She winks. “We can take turns, grinding our teeth.”

“No thanks,” I whisper, pulling away.

She clings and hisses. “Where are you going?
We’ve been inseparable all these years.”

“True.” I fold my legs in lotus pose, focus
on the air passing through my nostrils.

“Really?” she scoffs. “Really?
You want to live without me?”

“Yes.” I close my eyes and hum. “Yes.”


Winter Blend

In early June, when chicks chirped
from wispy cradles
tucked beneath my deck,
I hung a cylinder of seed
from a pole in my backyard.

June, July, August, September
feathered fluffs of color
with dainty three-pronged feet
chose my generous table,
often waiting in line to take a seat.
I watched from my window,
amused by the bicker and bustle.

Then October came, and the tube 
swung in a brisker wind, untouched.

Puzzled, I consulted the bird store,
was advised to buy black-oil sunflower,
scatter tempting bits on the ground.

A winter blend for those brave enough
to chirp in the snow.

Stationed again by the window
I watch the chickadee and cardinal,
blue jay and junco stop by to nourish me.

Jacqueline Jules is the author of Manna in the Morning (Kelsay Books, 2021) and Itzhak Perlman's Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. Her poetry has appeared in over 100 publications including OffcourseOne Art, Potomac ReviewThe Sunlight Press, and Gyroscope Review. She is also the author of numerous books for young readers including Smoke at the Pentagon: Poems to Remember (Bushel & Peck, 2023) and Tag Your Dreams: Poems of Play and Persistence (Albert Whitman, 2020). Visit her online at

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