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Eclipse: Excerpt from The Fool by Jessie Jones

Just released, The Fool by Jessie Jones takes on what it means to be human in the twenty-first century. As students begin returning to school under these strange circumstances — masks, online classes, hand sanitizer, social distancing — we wanted to share a poem from Jones’s debut collection to inspire us.  


In every which way, I am living 
for potential. I’ve mined cadmium  
enough to roulette with death 
and Mars, bloodshot brute, 
is swollen in my honour. 
My function is action — 
to pummel through concrete 
and machete hedges, 
to shear the irresolute 
with only wit and lichen-rich  
perfume. Allow yourself 
to make you is cross-stitched 
at the bough of every ingress. 
Fool is to worry. Fool is to wait 
for someone to tell me what I know  
already. I clap for a mind 
that can change and will. 
I harness nature’s fortitude 
and call bats down to crush 
the self-doubt that parades 
as my true self in platform 
sandals, teetering and ignorant 
of the hidden message of fate. 
That I will flourish 
even without permission. 

Excerpted from The Fool. Copyright © 2020 by Jessie Jones.

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