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.
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 alyxchandler.com.