Tanya Grae


A body is sixty percent
ocean & the rest, sediment —

​A ship at sea bears load to
the plimsoll, its safe burden —

If a limescale fresco remains
to mark history, the flood’s rise

& fall, without me jumping in
to live it again, the scene

where I don’t wear a diving bell,
where I free-dive grasping

one breath —
there’s no line for that,

only the primal sense
of treading water in bed.


First appeared in Foundry


Tanya Grae won the 2016 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Poetry Prize, selected by Yusef Komunyakaa, and is the author of the forthcoming chapbook Little Wekiva River (Five Oaks Press, 2017). Her poems have appeared in AGNI, New Ohio Review, Fjords, New South, The Los Angeles Review, Barrow Street, The Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Tallahassee and teaches at Florida State University while pursuing her doctorate. Find out more at: tanyagrae.com

On why/how poetry matters Tanya writes, “Poetry distills language into form and music that translates knowing on a cellular level, a type of soul elixir, saying what must be said.”