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Jaelahna Allen, 2023 2nd Place Poetry

Submissions for Poetry are open to one poem that was completed for coursework during the last calendar year. Submissions should not exceed 5 pages. Jaelahna Allen
wrote the 2nd place submission in the Poetry Category for the 2023 President’s Writing Awards.

About Jaelahna

Close up of Jaelahna, a brunette girl smiling with a multicolored shirt.

Jaelahna Allen is a junior at Boise State University majoring in Biology with a concentration in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. She finds poetry to be her vehicle for creatively exploring biological knowledge from novel perspectives. In the future, she hopes to be a naturalist focusing on Cetaceans.


Winning Manuscript - Invasive Species

Dandelions spread and float, root
and grow, over and over.
A blanket of delicate golden covering the
muddied dirt of the earth.

The beauty and persistence of life─
weeded seeds dug up and discarded.
The beauty of inconvenience─
Life is not life if it’s not wanted.

And growth is a pest
Pervasive invasive
Swans, Swines, Snails; the devils that dared,
set roots despite displacement.

You took them to awe. You took them
for their beauty.
Starlings striding through the sky;
refugees making a home.

Hunt to reset the balance you broke─
protectors turned predators.
You call them invaders as they evade the
wrath of the ones who stole their beauty.

Dandelions spread and root in homes
that belong to others.
A blanket of golden defeat on the
crowded ruins of native roots.

The persistence insistent on staying─
weeded seeds dug up but still remain.
The destructive occupancy─
Life comes with collateral.

The pest of overindulgence
Pervasive invasive
Swans, Swines, Snails; hungry hunters,
leaving no scraps for the starving.

We can only awe in ignorance.
Their beauty luring like sirens,
Fictitious fauna feeding on the fragile;
colonizing established communities.

We desperately search for the native novelties─
protectors of the persecuted.
They invade and we evade extinction of the
ecological miracles we were too late to admire.