Salt, Varnished Apple, & Baby Doll

By Jacqueline Jules

Sodium + Chloride = Salt


Image courtesy of parl (

Sodium, alone, is unstable.
Will flame if tossed in water.
Chloride is poison to inhale.
But when they join hands
they transform
into a tasty substance
desired on the tongue
vital to bodily function.
If only my parents fighting
through thin bedroom walls
(he, an explosive; she, a poison)
could chemically combine.
If only they could
behave together
better than alone,
my volatile home
would be stable as salt.

Varnished Apple


Image courtesy of Selma90 (

won’t core this apple
won’t extract stem and seeds
to provide sweet refreshment.
This apple
is made of varnished wood.
The interior, a sealed secret.
I cannot wash her, peel her,
or pretend her fruit
will quell my hunger.
She is not made
of the substance
I need in a friend.

Baby Doll

girl on rock

Image courtesy of Jenn Chushcoff (

The china doll Mom gave me
for my 7th birthday
still sits on a shelf above my bed.
The face is cracked,
another victim of my temper.
Everything changed
after that baby doll was smashed.
Forget tearful apologies,
promises, hugs, handshakes—
we always crash against the wall again.
Evenings, mornings, afternoons,
of You said that! No, I didn’t! Yes, you did!
always taking us back to that pretty baby doll
in her pink frilly dress.
She grew up, Mommy.
Forgive her.

Jacqueline JulesJacqueline Jules is a teacher, librarian, and author of fifteen books including “Unite or Die: How Thirteen States Became a Nation,” “No English,” and the upcoming “Zapato Power.” Her poetry has appeared in “Cicada,” “Cricket,” “Christian Science Monitor,” and others. To learn more about her, please visit

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