The Body’s Uncontested Need to Devour, An Explanation

I am bathing again, burying my face
into the great nations of moss.
I am leaning in, smelling the emerald mountains
and the little inhabitants crossing
over rock-like boulders and tree trunks empired
bit by bit. My nose must come to them
like a probing spaceship causing a mighty eclipse.
They speak in whispers but do not shriek
when gazing into the dim landing bays
of my cavernous thoughts. I am grazing
like a Dionysian. I come not with religion.
I come yearning for first spring and a thirst for spores
pooling like mercenaries in the dark even as we speak.
The little gods of the forest live here.
I want to ingest their verdant settlements
until they carpet my cavities and convert my raptorial
self into its own ecosystem, off into the green.

Major Jackson is the author of five books of poetry, most recently, The Absurd Man (Norton: 2020). His edited volumes include: Best American Poetry 2019Renga for Obama, and Library of America’s Countee Cullen: Collected Poems. A recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, he has been awarded a Pushcart Prize, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and has been honored by the Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress. Major Jackson lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where he is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. He serves as the Poetry Editor of The Harvard Review. In addition to his award-winning poetry and varied teaching, he has experience in nonprofit management and accounting. He is also an Orion board member.