Marcus Jackson
Pardon My Heart

Pardon my heart if it ruins your party. 

It’s a large, American heart and has had


a good deal to drink. It’s a pretty bad 

dancer—too much feeling, too little technique.


It may sing some godless hymns, about ousting 

armies of loneliness, about marching


victorious to wives and towns beneath 

a heart-colored dusk. Pardon my heart


if it closes its eyes for hours, 

whispering rapture over and over.


Pardon my heart if it laughs too loudly, 

or if it tells many of its stories


too ardently. Pardon my heart if it rests
an arm across you or your friends’ shoulders—


touch allows my heart to trust that it’s not

imagining your company’s loveliness.


Pardon my heart if you have to kick it out. 

After you’ve muzzled the music and brightened


the lights to tidy, my heart will ignore 

and keep doing its little two-step, aglow


in the middle of the room, never 

happier to have nowhere else to go.

Found In Volume 43, No. 04
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Marcus Jackson
About the Author

Marcus Jackson’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker and Harvard Review, among others. His first book, Neighborhood Register, was published in 2011 by CavanKerry Press.