I was painfully present at Major Jackson's reading on Tuesday. Here's a short list of the things I paid attention to:

  • The smiling faces of people in the crowd.
  • The boy sitting in front of me watching makeup tutorials the entire time.
  • Jackson's charisma/air that draped over the room like a magical, mystical cloak.
  • Two babies being breastfed at separate times, watching each other in the act from opposite sides of the room.
  • A young older sibling extremely frustrated by their baby brother.
  • The way I couldn't necessarily see myself in Jackson's writing but could still feel it.

I paid attention to a girl jump-roping outside. It was hypnotizing. The image of her through the stained glass windows fused with Jackson’s words made me acutely aware of my own “hereness.” My tunnel vision was in full effect— I couldn’t see anything but her movement. I couldn’t hear anything but his balladry. The millennial in me wanted to capture the moment but my overpowering selfish nature wanted to keep the reverie for myself. I’m pleased with my decision.

Natasha Hajo

CHRIS KENNEDY is a surfer from the New Jersey coast. He is a computer science major at Drexel University and is currently working on a short novel. He was a member of Rachel Wenrick’s 2015-16 Writers Room independent study.