Major Jackson

February 19, 2020 Jackson Major



They are pulverized into earth
while we make our mobile deposits,
while we touch the lengths
of each other’s bodies.
They are mowed down again.
The roads ache with them.
The parks are heavy
with their shopping carts
and plastic bags.
In waiting rooms,
game shows play above
their slumped bodies
like conundrums.
We’ve lost our faith
sometime in the last century.
They layer in clothes to
simulate an embrace. The core
hardens. The pure flesh hardens
and powders. We prefer them
hooded for fear we see ourselves
and thus pass by them: all furred,
twisted, and quiet like road kill.

Major Jackson is the author of four collections of poetry: Roll Deep (2015, Norton); Holding Company (2010, Norton); Hoops (2006, Norton); and Leaving Saturn (2002, University of Georgia Press). Holding Company and Hoops were both selected as finalists for an NAACP Image Award in the category of Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry; and Leaving Saturn, awarded the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for a first book of poems, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry. He has published poems and essays in AGNI, American Poetry Review, Callaloo, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Poetry, Tin House, and in Best American Poetry (2004, 2011). He is a recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and has been honored by the Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress.