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Alyx Chandler

Michelle Boisseau Poetry Prize Finalist Poem

In My Grandmother's Jaw

Difficulty is a fork in the belly of a shark


and I’m both   utensil and wild thing


a finned girl ready to feed     




at a table lit by teeth.



Below our fins             everything else           


watered down                                       and clinging to kelp


the kitchen alive with the slick skin of my mother



teaching me how. I yell above to the ship of green ghosts: trash us out loud


or close the sea up for good. Sharks are hungry


just like everyone else


I’m done drowning


in the devouring



armored with purpose


underwater etiquette.              These are gills ready


for the death-grip serenade


the playground of fins



yes       I will thrive in the pressure


I will clean the teeth of my decisions


take off the hinges                of the ocean door.

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Alyx Chandler (she/her) is a writer from the South who received her MFA in poetry at the University of Montana, where she taught composition and poetry. She is a publicist for Poetry Northwest, a reader for Electric Literature, and former poetry editor for CutBank. Her poetry can be found in Cordella Magazine, Greensboro Review, SWWIM, Anatolios Magazine, Sweet Tree Review, and elsewhere. Learn more at

Bear Review


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