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The Vanderbilt Review

The Vanderbilt Review

The Vanderbilt Review

knife fish
Image generated using TVR does not benefit financially from its publications.

on a mess of slime-slick entrails

sat the fish: gutted by the deft arc


of a fishmonger’s enameled blade,

stomach calcified into black rust &


bitter salt. vertebral bones protruding

like needle-sharp thorns. i looked it


right in the eye, & a fovea filled with

murky rage stared back. did you know


the chinese word for fury is 怒— nù.

a woman with her right hand over


a heart. fish hearts out of water die

slowly. there is no room to breathe.


when the knife descends, imagine

being so heavy as to sink into nothing.


perhaps i’m more like the fish, but

today, i am the knife. i beg, let me


dismember all that makes me feel.

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Joanna Zheng, Contributor

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