Jasmine Marshall Armstrong

My Student’s YouTube Essay

Alina’s voice is a white bird,
claws skimming English sentences,

A bit breathless after a gauntlet
of bombs in Bakhmut, a tent city

by the Rio Grande, her toe shoes
packed among jarred Sprats.

The little fish scales spangled
the morning, as she ate them

before wading across, her barre
a brother’s arm, a laptop in a backpack

her headdress for this fairy tale
she’s recorded for me somewhere

in my own country, Sacramento, say,
hot as a firebird rising up—

in hopes of tasting the Golden Apple
they said grows here in America.



Jasmine Marshall Armstrong’s poetry is influenced by the grit and glamor of growing up working class in California. A writing teacher, journalist, and poet, she has published poetry in Cathexis Northwest Press, Typishly, America Magazine, Poets Reading the News, In Parenthesis, Solo, Sojourners Magazine, Askew, Ulu Review, We Are Beat: The National Beat Poets Anthology and numerous other anthologies. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Fresno State University and an MA in World Cultures/Humanities from the University of California.