» Poetry

Two Love Poems

The View from Up Here

by Major Jackson


At sunset winter mountains reach
across the page long as a look of love.
Sometimes my hands want
all of your syllables.
I walk in kindness
when you’re around
which is to say I’m feeling Eastern.

I gather myself unto myself
because you hunger
for golden peaks.

Night gently offers its diamonds
which we stash in silent mumblings.

When you speak, I feel unburied
yet hear still the dead of my own house.
No one cares that I count your eyeblinks.
No one cares about all this hard water.
The hours are tall as polar caps,
and I quicken inside your name.


On Hawk Mountain, Vermont

by Didi Jackson


I am parting with the sun
that like a Greek oracle
descends the temple of mountains
before me. Their silhouette
darkens to Oxford blue,
elides the current of the sky
until I no longer see
crest or peak.  After moving up
from the South, how much should I know
of coniferous trees or of chickadees
who play their winter song of fee bee, fee bee,
the last note toppling an octave from the first
like a softly closing door.

The Northern sky stands so straight,
it uses the largest pines for crutches;
they bend under its weight.

We have a friend who isn’t happy
I’m white.  With him, though, the road
is just sampling the sound of the rain.
So my husband and I hold hands
as often as we can,
each finger erupting a new continent.

But in the early evening,
I worry that if pulled over,
when my husband lifts his empty hands
he is lifting only his blackness.
At this hour a chickadee cries
in staccato: dee dee dee, dee dee dee.
I wonder how it knows my name
before I look at our marriage
in the milky evening light.

Major Jackson and Didi Jackson

Major Jackson is the author of four books, most recently Roll Deep (W. W. Norton, 2015)He teaches at the University of Vermont.

Didi Jackson's poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Green Mountains Review, The Common, Water~Stone Review, and Passages North, among other publications. Her chapbook Slag and Fortune was published by Floating Wolf Quarterly in 2013. She lives in South Burlington, Vermont, where she teaches Poetry and the Visual Arts and Creative Writing at the University of Vermont.