Two Poems by Jacqueline Jules

Dr. Tonkin’s Model of Grief

After I finish the five stages with Kubler-Ross
I try Tonkin’s model, depicted in graphic terms
as a gray circle gradually taking less
space in an expanding sphere.

I picture my grief inside a glass jar.
It stays the same size, while the jar
grows, becoming a vessel
larger than my loss.

A nicer image, I think,
than climbing steps
in a stadium until my grief is only
a tiny figure on the floor below.

I will always live in the house
where you took your last breath.

But since then, I’ve added rooms.
One has a picture window. Another
a cozy fireplace. A third where I
entertain friends you’ve never met.

And when I talk about you
in this bigger house, I know
I haven’t left you behind,
just given us both more space
to comfortably exist.


Idioms to Manage Worry

If I try to “let it go,” as is often advised,
I think of a leaf floating down a brook
or a dragonfly buzzing away—
something that leaves my sight,
never to return.

Not every grief can disappear.

Not every worry is light enough
to drift away.

But I can envision “letting it drop.”

Like a rucksack filled for a two-day hike,
slipped off my shoulders for the night.

Or a pocketful of stones
collected on a cloudy day at the beach
and emptied into the garden
where they will smother the weeds
for a week or two.


Jacqueline Jules (she/her) 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 One Art, Amethyst Review, The Sunlight Press, and Gyroscope Review. Visit her online at

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