Tar Baby | Jasmine Respess

Burn myself down
liquid of wood, coal, and alcohol.
I pour out my form
to fuel you.

Grow myself from peat
half-dead plants and acidic soil.
I cut my body
to feed you.

Steam roll myself
across your land.
Scorched by high sun
to move you.

You can hit me,
I don’t mind.
But we are stuck in thorns and thicket,
I and you.

Jasmine Respess is a Florida native who writes about the intersections of her black Southern and Caribbean identities. Jasmine spent her undergrad career as a journalist, so she utilizes interviews of family members and research in much of her work. The tradition of magical realism has inspired her, and she explores folktales and lore in her poems. She has lived in Florida, St. Louis, and New Orleans but is currently earning a duel MFA in Poetry & Non-Fiction at The New School, NY.

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