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poet

TJ Jarrett

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TJ Jarrett

TJ Jarrett received a BA from Wellesley College and an MFA from Bennington Writing Seminars. She is the author of Zion (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014), winner of the Crab Orchard Open Competition, and Ain’t No Grave (New Issues Press, 2013). She works in software development and lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

by this poet

poem

its ruthless syntax, and the ease with which it interjects
itself into our days. I thought how best to explain this—

this dark winter, but that wasn’t it, or beds unshared
but that isn’t exactly it either, until I remembered

Saturday afternoons spent with my father in the garage
and those

poem

If you believe what you hear, he was everywhere
from Virginia to Alabama just beyond every holler.

Which is to say he was everywhere and everywhere
he was, he was unwanted. In one story, they say it

happened because if a white man said it happened,
then it happened. In another, he was a

2
poem

Sometimes I dream of a slave ship docking at port
& my grandmother has brought me here. She takes my hand
(in the dream I am very young) as we watch the children
disembark. The children are lithe & descend one after
another after another—squinting, lifting their hands to shield