“The Body of an American Paratrooper” by Ashaki Jackson

The Body of a Soldier
The body of an American paratrooper killed in action in the jungle near the Cambodian border is raised up to an evacuation helicopter (Henri Huet, 1966)

This body:
a question and broken
compass  North-pointing or ascending
and bruised like a savior

I mean the body is dead

Fully-clothed and suspended in a truth-
ful place

When I say truthful   I mean honest

as skin                                                          {A loose
tongue}   I’m saying
“obvious”   The body hides
nothing but prayer and low tide

retreating all
its breathless melody   Now: stiff
slow in its arch   I swear he is a black-
necked stork cascading

So sure   his mother will open
her wide-mouthed wail   jowls brimming
with iridescent plumage   Her body too

passing through




Ashaki M. Jackson is a Cave Canem poetry fellow and a member of the Voices of Our Nations Arts (VONA) writing community. Her work has appeared in publications including Eleven Eleven and Suisun Valley Review. She is also a social psychologist who works with teen girls throughout Greater Los Angeles.

Read an interview with Ashaki here.

3 thoughts on ““The Body of an American Paratrooper” by Ashaki Jackson

  1. 78,
    i’m so proud of you. this is wonderful, beautiful, wonderful.
    way to represent.
    especially in this, our year of the horse.
    amongst us lovely, yet wondering creatures… you are the unicorn. thanks for shining a light.

    • How did I miss this comment?! Thank you ’78. I’m so grateful that you read this piece. It’s lovely to be *seen* by family. More [rumination on loss] to come!

  2. Pingback: Interview with Ashaki M. Jackson | Rkvry Quarterly Literary Journal