"Singing Hymns from Shore" by Devon Bohm


This is a summer where I’m finding flecks of mica

on my skin, days later, showers later, glittering sand

fused to the newly tanned plains of my body.

My legs feel longer, my flesh tighter, my throat

thirstier, and my mind floating somewhere past

the breachway. Is it possible to feel content

when so much is burning down around you?

I ask the muddle of jellyfish, tame as anything

wild can be, drifting brainless and toothless

through the cove, but though there are hundreds

of these luminous wanderers, they remain inscrutable.

Their only obedience is to their impulses, the tides.


Is this what some people feel in church? What I feel

when the water washes its soft hymns over me?

Follow me, the waves are calling from the threshold

of the pond. Follow me, intone the deepest waters

where there’s no longer blue. Follow me, cries the lonely

seabed, hidden by the long shadows trembling their way

across my closed eyelids. Their music is the salt in the

heart, the carping moan of bittersweet, sullen reaching

for something as imprecise and fleeting as calm, radiant,



There is bread waiting on the shore, with both honey and

honeysuckle, but I am looking to keep something deeper

and more pure in my body’s coursing mysteries fed.

Whatever they tell you, this isn’t unnecessary. Feed

yourself with whatever you can tear off with your hands,

teeth, salted heart. It’s what separates us from the jellyfish.

It’s what makes us envy them. It’s what survival means,

for some.


Devon Bohm’s work has been featured in publications such as Labrys, Necessary Fiction, Spry, The Graveyard Zine, and Sixfold. Her first book, Careful Cartography, is due out in November 2021 by Cornerstone Press. Follow her on Instagram @devonpoem or @devonbohm, or visit her website www.devonbohm.com to learn more.

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