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by jayy dodd

my mouth be a reminder,

how salt-water suppose to stop the tongue from swelling,


how teeth be bones too,

how my voice sounds of a needed haunting.


if this body be a land,

it’s language be howl & debris.


a blood-letting from my gums, naming each rotting cavity

a body outside itself.


how can a barren mouth drown in its own saliva?

ain’t there a harvest at the tip of my tongue?


if i fix     my lips               to speak themselves free,

allow my voice to break in riot,


be vocabulary barreling through a nation’s mourning,

be a vernacular of bullets       coming                     for the back 

                                                                              of your throat.


jayy dodd is a blxk question mark from los angeles, california– now based on the internet. they are a professional writer & literary editor. their work has appeared / will appear in Lambda Literary, The Establishment, Assaracus, Winter Tangerine, Guernica, & Yes,Poetry, among others. they’re the author of [sugar in the tank]  (Pizza Pi Press 2016) & Mannish Tongues (Platypus Press 2017). they are a Pushcart Prize & Bettering American Poetry nominee; their work has been featured on Lit Hub, Teen Vogue, & Entropy. find them talking trash or taking a selfie @

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