Three Poems by NitaJade

the devil's wives *

today, we divine our walk, 

our uphill saunters, thunder-

clapped brown skin bolted

in storms. we praise sweat 

collecting about our shoulders. 

glistenin,’ throwin’ back 

sun’s glow in witty retort

we rejoice rain, clever drops 

swirling with water we make 

estuary by happenstance

we praise phenomena 

trickling along our chests, 

salted rivers forking tributaries 

around areolas

join us in worship: streams 

begetting creeks begetting 

springs at our navels,

our navels overflowing the levees of our hips, 

spilling earthward onto backhills. the depths 

mamas warn you to be wary around

rest at the small of our backs 

you can’t see the bottom 

of us, you don’t know 

how far you’ll sink

* The (terrible) adage “the devil is beating his wife” is used when there is simultaneous rain and sunshine.




we are called regardless of if we listen or respond or don’t pick up the incoming shout still reaches us we are called every time our ears ring our ancestors tryna get through we might as well mind our manners face the air speak back to where we are called we are called wonderful called wonderous we are called gifted called great we are called when the incense exhales we are called over cups of tea we are called elbow deep in blackberries we are called mid-cobbler we are called midday evening midnight three a.m. or mere moments before the dew we are called at the tale-end of dreams we are called shoulders shaken outta sleep we are called awake we are called soaped up in the shower we are showers we are called by thunder we are called to rain we are called mid-drop we are called midstep mid-stride mid-stroke we are called wrapped in oil-annointed skin we are called mid-fantasy mid-climax we are called hopeless called romantic called insane in the forest we are called back told not to wander past the windchimes & we take heed we are called & called & called by our nicknames & when called by our full names we are sent for & when called by our four names (called by each of our eleven syllables) we are sounded out we are summoned we are present in earnest we are here in exhausted huff we respond with exalted yes ma’am? yes? ma’am? now how may we be of service?


Freedom Interlude for OG 

don’t ever let them see you down & broke ~OG Queen
after Noname’s song, “Freedom Interlude” 

You breathed for me today, 
i thought of You all dressed to the nines 
gold tooth flashing, smooth as ever,

& how, before the stolen breaths, 
You insisted on adjusting Your will: 
exchanged a mud-stuck body

for a furnace-cleansed skeleton. 
the whole stock of You put up 
a final fight. a last lick.

i carried You with me 
& when the levy burst 
i remembered Your invitation

to call up the good of You: 
swallow air, sing & dance 
a freedom interlude:

dance with Me, dance with Me. 
dance with Me, dance with Me. 
dance with Me, dance with Me.

dance with Me, y’all know 
I’m free. dance for Me, 
y’all know I’m free.

photo by Makeda Sandford

NitaJade (they/she) is an Affrilachian Poet and a self-proclaimed weirdo hailing from Asheville, North Carolina. NitaJade earned their BA 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. Directly after graduate school, NitaJade served as the Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Centre College. In August 2023, they joined Emory & Henry’s faculty as an Assistant Professor of English. They aspire to embody the aesthetics of sloths and narwhals (slarwhals, if you please.) They laugh loudly and stubbornly.