• Urban Renewal (xciii.)

    Major Jackson

    Winter 2023

    The dead are a reservoir of secrets which they hoard
    like limes in invisible caves. The dead
    are disciplined and close rank like catenaries.
    Occasionally, a night wind pilfers soft words
    streamed from their occult of mysteries. The dead
    avoid all eye contact yet the light the dead see
    is all lantern that taunts and calls them back
    across the firmament. They sing at the foot
    of myrtle trees and read the classics
    evenings in dentist chairs. They smell like
    disinfectant. Like us, they open their hooked
    mouths to taste first rain, a wide, thick
    tongue like a dry countryside.

    Major Jackson is the author of A Beat Beyond: Selected Prose of Major Jackson edited by Amor Kohli. He is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in the Humanities at Vanderbilt University.

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