Jacqueline Jules

Difference Between Heaven and Hell

In the room below,
thin faces sit at a round table,
scowling, with hollow eyes
at steaming bowls of soup.

While in the room above,
plump faces dine, smiling.

In both rooms,
the banquet is identical,
as are the utensils—too long
to reach from bowl to mouth.
Though in the Chinese version
the characters have chopsticks
and in the Western tale, spoons.

But on all continents,
the parable ends the same,
declaring Heaven as the place
where people feed each other.


Jacqueline Jules is the author of three books of poems: Itzhak Perlman's Broken String (Evening Street Press, 2017),Stronger Than Cleopatra (ELJ Publications, 2014), and the chapbook Field Trip to the Museum (Finishing Line Press, 2014). Her work has appeared in Inkwell, Little Patuxent Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Gargoyle, and Potomac Review. In addition, she has published 35 books for young readers including Never Say a Mean Word Again: A Tale from Medieval Spain (Wisdom Tales, 2014), winner of an Aesop Accolade from the American Folklore Society and finalist in the 2014 National Jewish Book Awards. Jules is a former school librarian and lives in Arlington, VA. http://www.jacquelinejules.com/