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Mercury in Retrograde

Mercury in Retrograde

close up of sun

Mercury in Retrograde

by James Croal Jackson

Wednesday, when you cashed me
out at the end of a delivery shift,
you asked if I believed in astrology,
and I said yes because you’re cute.
You said it was okay to blame
what goes wrong on the planet
closest to the sun, since it’s now
rotating in reverse. So I did.
That day, my GPS struggled
to calibrate my position, couldn’t
guide me in the proper direction.
And in the evening, I drank
myself toward sickness
at a radio station bar
to an out-of-tune band
led by a narcissistic
salesman in his sixties.
Just the week before I had
promised myself I wouldn’t
get blackout drunk again
nor lust for a person
that wasn’t my partner.
But when I woke it was
on an unfamiliar tile floor,
staring at the toilet, full
of old beer. I reached up
to tug the handle, to see
what next would spin away.

James Croal Jackson (he/him) is a Filipino-American poet who works in film production. He has two chapbooks (Our Past Leaves, Kelsay Books, 2021 and The Frayed Edge of Memory, Writing Knights, 2017) with one forthcoming: Count Seeds With Me (Ethel, 2022). He edits The Mantle Poetry from Pittsburgh, PA. You can find him at