rises from the nadir, stark blue
interruption to the horizon's argument
that all is flat—a world more sky
than earth, empty save for extremity
calligraphied with cirrus, soft feather-stroke of cloud
above land flattened by wind scraping through
caliche and yucca, prickly pear and mesquite.
When I was six we kept chickens in a wood-framed, wire coop.
That August, there were more tumbleweeds than tomatoes;
my father collared me and the machete.
One at a time he grabbed their necks and laid them out on a block
his job was to chop and mine
to watch as the pile of heads at his feet
grew larger and more quiet, while
the headless bodies attempted flight
and I tried to stare at the horizon as it arched into darkness
thin line of nothing caught between earth and sky
soot from sun's last throes.
Darren Jackson's recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Pinch, The Laurel Review, The Offending Adam, Bluestem, and other journals. He has also translated Life in the Folds by Henri Michaux (Wakefield P, forthcoming Fall 2014); "The White Globe," an essay by Bertrand Westphal, which is forthcoming from Northwestern University Press in the The Planetary Turn: Art, Dialogue, and Geoaesthetics in the 21st-Century; and, with Marilyn Kallet and J. Bradford Anderson, Chantal Bizzini's Disenchanted City (Black Widow Press, forthcoming September 2014). He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Tennessee.