Onlooker, Listener Whom I Can’t See

Marcus Jackson
When you eye me, it's my immediate chore
to disregard the majority of creation
with the same essentialness of someone looking
against the oncoming traffic
to check for the late bus they must board.
The face of my friend 20 years ago
looked with an earned liberation
into the entryway of a winter night
while a haul of plundered Percocet swabbed
the trillions of walls within his body.
I was such a poorly traveled, young grunt
I gawked at any beach scene on TV.
At the community pool, we snuck
through the far-end slash in the chain-link
and splashed fiercely wearing cutoff jeans.
The first full suit I wore was a gem selected
at Value City --- my pregnant homecoming date
instructed me of the garment's eminence
while we stared in the dressing-room mirror.
Have you, onlooker, listener whom I can't see,
ever dressed a child in the hour
of morning when your life's most
questionable residuals do to your brain
what the knuckles of a sculpture dream of doing
to a city hall's fastidious glass?

Marcus Jackson’s most recent book is Pardon My Heart (Northwestern Press/Triquarterly Books, 2018). He teaches in the MFA programs at Ohio State and Queens University of Charlotte. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.