40 Ounce

Summer has salted
our neighborhood to thirst;
tar that patches the wounds of roofs
heats to sluggish bubbles;
sun obligates
paint on car hoods to blotch.

Emphasized by the light
inside corner-store beer coolers,
your malt lusters.

You’re cold gold down throat.

Lush like storm-brim wind.

Foam-skinned as any cleansing.

Within thick glass, you swish oceanic
as we share you palm to palm.

You have helped
this dice game clank alive,
paper-wager and victory-rake,
players with obsidian eyes.

Through an uncurtained pane,
a music video is visible;
women’s shimmer slurs
like jewelry worn on a passerby.

Neighbors here and there snore,
hallway walls tacked
with flea-market art, closets
dehydrated by moth repellent.
They leave us to you.
They could plead tomorrow
in churches whose pipes
ramble behind brittle plaster.

We drink you to the pale bottom,
we drink until night sinks
into skin like silk,
until graveyard cops
circle our block like a clock arm,
until blood slides
like alloy through veins,
until words hammer
from the anvil of the brain,
until America’s
continental wheel unbolts
and everybody can see
we gleam like greased bearings.

Copyright © 2011 by Marcus Jackson. “40 Ounce” originally appeared in Neighborhood Register (Cavankerry Press, 2011). Used with permission of the author.