Gary Jackson is the author of Missing You, Metropolis (Graywolf Press, 2010), which was selected by Yusef Komunyakaa as winner of the 2009 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. He teaches in the MFA program at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina.
Jackson was born and raised in Topeka, Kansas, received a Bachelor’s in English from Washburn University in 2004. And graduated from the University of New Mexico with an MFA in 2008. He lived and taught in South Korea for one year before returning to New Mexico.
At Crazyhorse, he is Associate Poetry Editor. The Poetry Society of America selected him as one of 2013’s New American Poets.
by Gary Jackson
Still dark, my baby girl leaps out
the window to greet the rising sun.
I stand below ready to catch her,
but every time she takes off
without fail, her laughter calling
to the orioles, calling
to my shame that had I the choice,
I would have never taught her to fly.
Somewhere there is a man with a gun
who will take pleasure in seeing her
skin against the pure blue sky—
and shooting her down.
My own mother did not flinch
when I first raised my arms
and lifted my feet off the ground,
above her head.
She only said you better hope
bulletproof skin comes with that
gift. Years later I found out it did.
Really beautiful, I interpret it as to aspire, having great ambitions to achieve. I wish I could fly, you can, only you are preventing, others are just obstacles.