"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,
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.