Honoring Black History Month — Kara Jackson’s “lost & found”

Hello Third Coast Community and Happy Friday! Today we find ourselves in the middle of February and meditating on post-Valentine’s Day warmth. In addition to being a commercial holiday, did you know that the 14th is also the birthday of the great Frederick Douglass?

As we glow in appreciation for those we care about, it is just as important to reflect on the literary activism of Douglass and his successors. Third Coast strives to uplift the voices of creatives within the Black community, so today we will revisit Kara Jackson’s poem “lost & found” from Issue 48. The month of February serves as a reminder of the excellence that has emerged from inestimable hardship and courage, but also the distance that remains between where we are now and a world without systemic racism.

— Logen Crandall, Editorial Intern

lost & found
By Kara Jackson

i thought i left my black in a safe
place i thought my black pulled on me
an umbilical cord, thought my black was cut
for safekeeping i thought my black was floating
in a jar or maybe my black is a button
i’m supposed to rush to in case of emergency
i take my black off of my shoulders and hang it up
my father only mentions his black if he’s drunk
my black is something we claim
on our taxes, the very high ones, my friends
they come to visit and ask me how i’ve gotten on
without it, ask do i miss my black?
like a childhood pet i tell them it’s around
here somewhere, dust assigned to some crevice,
sock in the lost & found i ask my neighbors
if they’ve seen my black and they call me
a nigger
how did they find it so quickly?
like a bird heard and recognized

Kara Jackson is the daughter of country folks. She is the author of Bloodstone Cowboy (Haymarket Books, 2019). Jackson served as the third National Youth Poet Laureate from 2019-2020. Jackson made her musical debut with her EP A Song for Every Chamber of the Heart, which was self-released. Through a multidisciplinary approach, Jackson attempts to document her lineage in a country that demands its erasure. Her work has appeared in POETRY, Frontier Poetry, Rookie Mag, Nimrod Literary Journal, The Lily, and Saint Heron. Jackson is a TEDx speaker. She is a junior at Smith College. (From The Spoken Word Club)