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Friday Feature: NitaJade



NitaJade is an Affrilachian Poet and a self-proclaimed weirdo hailing from Asheville, NC. NitaJade earned their B.A. in African and African American Studies from Berea College in 2019. In 2022, they earned their MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from the University of Kentucky. During the 2022-2023 academic year, NitaJade served as the Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Centre College. They joined Emory & Henry's faculty as an Assistant Professor of English and co-director of the annual Appalachian Literary Festival in 2023. NitaJade proudly serves as a Narrative Organizer for the Black Appalachian Coalition and as the Vice President of the Kentucky State Poetry Society. They insist that their late O.G. Queen's sweet potato pie epitomizes love. Ultimately, they aspire to embody the aesthetics of sloths and narwhals (slarwhals, if you please.) They laugh loudly and stubbornly.



C R O S S F A D E

Ancestor visits your sleep   \   asks if you have something to say   \   pauses long enough to hear

your answer   \   makes space for you to sit   \   Ancestor challenges your tongue   \   to split in

testimony  \\    in waking life   \   when you voice your visitor   \   all your mama hears is thisisit!  

\   her tone insists   \   tellmewhohurtyou!   \   tellme!tellme!tellme!say!   \   call them out and   \  

i’ll call away they breath    \\      you can’t remember vividly   \   enough to gamble lives on      \\     

yet, you know your molestation(s)   \   the same way you know   \   your names:  one day out the

blue   \   they were called on you      \\      syllables swallowed   \   so often   \   you can’t recall   \  

the first time   \   you spoke them   \  (your names   \   not theirs)      \\      your mama needs   \  

rescinded-stamped confession   \   your mama needs   \\    un-gulped wine   \   she needs   \  

un-inhaled blunt  \   she needs   \   unmarred midnight moon  \   a trick of the light \ illusions of

successful safety   \  smoke in mirrors   \   your mama needs erasure      \\      until your tongue

reverses  \  or (un)splits  \  she   will   never   stop    \         reaching        \          for   their   names.



C R O S S F A D E

Ancestor visits your sleep   \   asks if you have something to say   \   pauses long enough to hear

your answer   \   makes space for you to sit   \   Ancestor challenges your tongue   \   to split in

testimony  \\    in waking life   \   when you voice your visitor   \   all your mama hears is thisisit!  

\   her tone insists   \   tellmewhohurtyou!   \   tellme!tellme!tellme!say!   \   call them out and   \  

i’ll call away they breath    \\      you can’t remember vividly   \   enough to gamble lives on      \\     

yet, you know your molestation(s)   \   the same way you know   \   your names:  one day out the

blue   \   they were called on you      \\      syllables swallowed   \   so often   \   you can’t recall   \  

the first time   \   you spoke them   \  (your names   \   not theirs)      \\      your mama needs   \   a

rescinded-stamped confession   \   your mama needs   \\    un-gulped wine   \   she needs   \  

un-inhaled blunt  \   she needs   \   unmarred midnight moon  \   a trick of the light \ illusions of

successful safety   \  smoke in mirrors   \   your mama needs erasure      \\      until your tongue

reverses  \  or (un)splits  \  she   will   never   stop  \         reaching        \          for   their   names.



C R O S S F A D E

Ancestor visits your sleep   \   asks if you have something to say   \   pauses long enough to hear

your answer   \   makes space for you to sit   \   Ancestor challenges your tongue   \   to split in

testimony      \\      in waking life   \   when you voice your visitor   \   all your mama hears is 

thisisit!   \   her tone insists   \   tellmewhohurtyou!   \   tellme!tellme!tellme!say!   \   call them out

and   \   i’ll call away they breath    \\      you can’t remember vividly   \   enough to gamble lives

on      \\      yet, you know your molestation(s)   \   the same way you know   \   your names:  one

day out the blue   \   they were called on you    \\    syllables swallowed   \   so often   \   you can’t

recall   \   the first time   \   you spoke them   \  (your names   \   not theirs)      \\      your mama

needs   \   a rescinded-stamped confession   \   your mama needs   \\    un-gulped wine   \   she

needs   \   un-inhaled blunt  \   she needs   \   unmarred midnight moon  \   a trick of the light \

illusions of successful safety   \  smoke in mirrors  \   your mama needs erasure      \\      until your

tongue reverses  \  or (un)splits  \  she   will   never   stop  \      reaching      \   for   their   names.



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Torch Literary Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit established to publish and promote creative writing by Black women. We publish contemporary writing by experienced and emerging writers alike. Programs include the Wildfire Reading Series, writing workshops, and retreats.

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