From Major Jackson's Collection, The Absurd Man

February 25, 2020  By Major Jackson

The boughs have been naked for weeks.
Snowplows scrape the highway clean of its sugar.
People withdraw into their nests and study
the language of fire. A group of high school girls
on their way home in the afternoon dark
falls into an embankment and flaps their arms
and legs as though cloud-swimming toward the coming world.
The blank silence of dead earth forces us
to gaze up, harvest the black music that belongs
to all the eyes in the future who will turn to the spheres
and study too whatever light to fill their emptiness.


Reprinted from The Absurd Man: Poems. Copyright (c) 2020 by Major Jackson. Used with permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

Major Jackson
Major Jackson
Major Jackson is the author of five volumes of poetry, including The Absurd Man, Roll Deep, and Leaving Saturn, which won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for a first book of poems. He has edited Best American Poetry 2019 and is a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He has been awarded a Pushcart Prize and a Whiting Writers’ Award, and his work has appeared in American Poetry Review, The New Yorker, and the Paris Review, among other publications. The poetry editor of the Harvard Review, Jackson lives in South Burlington, Vermont, where he is a University Distinguished Professor at the University of Vermont.

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