Tiana Nobile

Of an animal, especially a bird. A wandering species
whom no seas nor places limit. A seed who survives despite
the depths of hard winter. The ripple of a herring

steering her band from icy seas to warmer strands.
To find the usual watering-places despite
the gauze of death that shrouds our eyes

is a breathtaking feat. Do you ever wonder why
we felt like happy birds brushing our feathers
on the tips of leaves? How we lifted our toes

from one sandbank and landed – fingertips first –
on another? Why we clutched the dumb and tiny creatures
of flower and blade and sod between our budding fists?

From an origin of buried seeds emerge
these many-banded dagger wings.
We, of the sky, the dirt, and the sea. We,

the seven-league-booters and the little-by-littlers.
We, transmigrated souls, will prevail.
We will carry ourselves into the realms of light.

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Tiana Nobile is the author of Cleave (Hub City Press, 2021). She is a Korean American adoptee, Kundiman fellow, and recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award. A finalist of the National Poetry Series and Kundiman Poetry Prize, her writing has appeared in Poetry Northwest, The New Republic, Guernica, and the Texas Review, among others. She lives in New Orleans, Louisiana.

For more, visit www.tiananobile.com

Spartanburg, South Carolina

"Cleave is not only the story of a transnational adoption. Because of Tiana Nobile’s compassionate imagination and lucid discernment, Cleave becomes the story of all our lost selves, of the mothers we long for and the languages we struggle to speak. Writing with what Audre Lorde calls the 'intimacy of scrutiny,' Nobile uncovers in the mysteries of her origins our most difficult truths, observing 'How we feed on each other for ourselves. / How we keep ourselves alive through each other.' This is an accomplished debut by a powerfully precise poet."
—Jennifer Chang, author of Some Say the Lark

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