Poem-a-Day - "Tendril" by Jada Renée Allen

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November 17, 2022 

Tendril

Jada Renée Allen

& just the vermillion
flicker of cannas near the pane.
Our bodies too, plateaued;

my hole, newly bloomless.
Outdoors, further out, a wren
winnows, the mesquite

on whose yielding limbs the all-
but-tender fowl rests
flexes, in cold as in darkness . . .

Time, like desire, expands too—
no? My lover, nodding gently,
shakes the leaves, &

A little softer. A little softer now
A little softer, for what’s been torn.

Copyright © 2022 by Jada Renée Allen. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 17, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

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“Around the time of writing this sonnet, I was obsessed with concepts of lyric time and movement. For instance, how in one line the poem’s subjects may be indoors and, in the next seven or eight, seemingly, the subjects are in nature. So much of love is this way: a presence, an absence, the distance between the two or lack thereof—it’s magic and not. I found the sonnet, with its volta, to be the most appropriate form for this bewildering, twisting wonder of mine.”
Jada Renée Allen

Jada Renée Allen

Jada Renée Allen is a Black poet, writer, and educator from Chicago. A 2022 92Y Discovery Poetry Contest winner, her work has been supported by Tin House, the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, Community of Writers, and VONA (Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation), among other organizations. She lives in Phoenix, on occupied O’odham Jewed, Akimel O’Odham, and Hohokam lands.

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Thanks to Jake Skeets, author of Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers (Milkweed, 2019), who curated Poem-a-Day for this month’s weekdays. Read or listen to a Q&A about Skeets’s curatorial approach and find out more about our guest editors for the year
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