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Poetry Summer 2021    fiction    all issues

Cover of Poetry Summer 2021


Diana Akhmetianova

Monique Jonath
& other poems

Alix Christofides Lowenthal
Before and After
& other poems

Rebbekah Vega-Romero
La Persona Que Quiero Ser
& other poems

Oak Morse
Incandescent Light That Peeks Through Secrets
& other poems

George Kramer
The Last Aspen Stand
& other poems

Elizabeth Sutterlin
Meditations on Mars
& other poems

Holly Marie Roland
& other poems

Devon Bohm
A Bouquet of Cherry Blossoms
& other poems

Ana Reisens
In praise of an everyday object
& other poems

Maxi Wardcantori
The Understory
& other poems

William A. Greenfield
& other poems

Karen L Kilcup
The Sky Is Just About to Fall
& other poems

Pamela Wax
He dreams of birds
& other poems

Mary Jane Panke
& other poems

a mykl herdklotz
Mouettes et Mastodontes
& other poems

Claudia Maurino
Good Pilgrim
& other poems

Mary Pacifico Curtis
One Mystical Day
& other poems

Tess Cooper
Airport Poem
& other poems

Peter Kent
Congress of Ravens
& other poems

Kimberly Sailor
White Women Running
& other poems

Bill Cushing
Creating a Corpse
& other poems

Everett Roberts
& other poems

Susan Marie Powers
Canada Geese
& other poems

Writer's Site

Devon Bohm

Bukowski Tavern

Remember that bar

we used to go to, when you

lived in Boston?

On Boylston maybe, near

      where it crosses Mass Ave—

                                                       Bukowski Tavern

in yellow letters on the red lintel,

      decades of beer sticking your shoes to the floor,

            fried food swimming in cheese, gravy,

                  the feeling of being completely and contentedly


They had dark red booths

lining the narrow space,

a jaded bartender with a hat,

and a wheel to spin when you

couldn’t decide on a drink.

I told you

      I didn’t think


would like it here

      and we were laughing and kissing and drunk and traveling

from nowhere to nowhere

                                                but suddenly and faithfully

arriving nowhere together.

My belief in you then wasn’t


but I pretended it was for a while,


      my love for you wasn’t already

                              incurable, inexhaustible, gruesomely certain.

I liked to eavesdrop

      on people on bad dates


      we were always having a better one

and then we

      walked back to your apartment on Comm Ave

and climbed

      onto the roof to see Boston’s rusty lights

flying across our eyeline.

I always knew

                        that people were idiots, musicians, poets,


            I never knew

                                        how real it was,

that your heart could feel like

                                                      flying, dancing, burning,

until we went to the bar,

that roof,

your bedroom,

                           with such strange, imperfect steps.

My shoes were still sticking

when I drove back to Connecticut

                                                            in the morning,


                                                            to go but

to wait

      for you

            to come back to me,

            to come back to our


            to come back


Foster’s Cove

The difference between

an estuary and a cove?

More ways out.

The dog is in the boat as ballast

and I am drifting my brine-stung

fingers through the weeds,

scattering minnows through

the water’s dappled halls.

We have come to this place

as supplicants, penitents, pilgrims,

this bathing suit my surplice,

salt on my lips in prayer.

I am trying to remember

how to pray.

I am trying to forget

the anathema my own

heart called out,

believing me

undeserving of peace.

It is almost June,

but the mornings here

are still fog-leeched,

cold sunshine unseen,


and closed shut as a fist.

When the wind picks up,

I remember the cuckoo,

think what it would be

to be lifted out and thrown


There is a hammering against

my eardrum, a haunting,

a violation: you are not here

to resolve yourself to die.

Cardinal, robin, blue jay—

if we planted a yew tree

they’d all be here

and we’d be protected.

When I swallow water

all is salt, basalt, brimstone.

When I look at you,

I see me.

I see a way out.

Forgiveness, the wind’s susurrus.

Bear witness, the bee’s throaty buzz.

Kindness, the cove’s heartsong.


I tell myself,

I make myself,

I create myself:

Imagine not needing a way out.

Ghost Story

I don’t blame you for not believing me.

I’m unsure, in the light, if I believe me,

too. But I can’t be the only one who’s

heard them, the voices in the house

when I’m home alone. Not the radio,

not some kind of mimic, no nightmares

explain the voice that says my name—

clear and bright as moonlight and right

behind my ear, but only on nights

the house is empty and silent. The dog

turns his head, his ears prick. I’ve

seen it, my heart throbbing in my

throat. This house was built in 1922

and that’s it, that’s all I know of it,

nothing personal or damned. I guess

the question isn’t if it’s real, but if

I want it to be. What I really want

is a story: letters pried up from beneath

floorboards, doomed love, thieves and

warriors, the transfiguration of my life

from a quiet house into a story worth

writing about. People will, writers will

find meaning in anything, even if they

have to make it up, even if their own

heads do it for them. Dawn comes in.

That romantic, pastel light doesn’t belong

in a ghost story and it’s easy now to believe

in the sun and luck and requited love

when I know you’ll be home before

the heat of the day cages the town in its

teeth. I make coffee, make this into

a different story, maybe boring, maybe

unnoticed by the annals of history, maybe

true. I wait for you on the porch and when

you arrive and say my name I think:

isn’t it strange, what being seen can do

to us? You don’t believe my story, I can

tell and I don’t blame you. But you see

me telling a story, you hear me, and you

listen. For now, it is enough to believe

in that.

A Bouquet of Cherry Blossoms

As Ovid wrote of absent lovers,

      I write these words to you, today:

even when you’re beside me in bed

      I dream of you, defying all

dreamly logic, waking me

      only to help me go back

to sleep. What reveries

      are these? It’s all too real—

the coarse touch of your

      hand on my naked back,

your voice a low-toned

      bell in the seashell

of my ear—echoing,

      echoing—your breath

a softness, a bouquet

      of sleep. If we were

planets, we’d be orbiting

      each other only for

the pull of the attraction,

      the gravity of the situation

invisible and too powerful

      to fight. Why wouldn’t

we hold close what makes

      the void not only livable

but beautiful again? Why

      not love, even if it

leads to destruction?

      For all the lullabies

the dream-you provides,

      I always wake first,

the robins sweetly warbling

      a punch of reality.

The cherry blossoms

      have all fallen from

their branches. But

      you know what that means,

love? We’ll have cherries,

      soon enough.

High Winds

Our dog is scared of the wind,

but only when he’s inside

where it can’t touch him.

I find this a reasonable fear.

Who wouldn’t be scared of

unseen noise outside a third story

window? Two years ago, a robin

made a nest under the eaves

of our covered porch. It hurts

me to see what was left behind—

an abandoned home attached

to the one I’m trying to build.

My engagement ring catches

the light out here in a dappling,

like trees are involved, like

stars’ cold but luminous fire

burns here, here. That’s how

natural it feels to be marrying

you. Even the dog feels this

revelation—turns his head

to pant as the wind kicks up,

the way it is wont to do

in late spring, but he doesn’t

cower. No matter how hard,

or violent, or excessive, as long

as he can feel it he isn’t anything

but a dog on a shaded porch

watching for squirrels. It’s been

two years since the robin and her

jakes bolted from their daub

and waddle home, but this deepening

morning we came out to find

eggs smashed on the peeling,

splintering planks of the porch.

The colors of sky and sun and bone,

the dog tried to roll through

the destruction, could smell

the magnetic pull of that which

was never fully realized. You

left a beer can out here last

night, a paper towels as crumpled

as the shell, a light. Moths

spent all evening alighting to their

deaths as we laughed and touched

and pretended we were more than

mortal, for a moment. The light

of day isn’t stark, but forgiving.

Whatever detritus we leave

behind, let me hammer

one last bit in: the dog is

right to be afraid, and we

are right to keep going

anyway, keep falling anyway,

keep loving when there’s no

proof we won’t be

taken out by a high


Devon Bohm received her BA from Smith College and earned her MFA with a dual concentration in Poetry and Fiction from Fairfield University. She was awarded the 2011 Hatfield Prize for Best Short Story, received an honorable mention in the 2020 L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest, and was long-listed for Wigleaf’s Best Very Short Fiction of 2021. Her work has also been featured in publications such as Labrys, Necessary Fiction, Spry and previously in Sixfold. Follow her on Instagram @devonbohm or visit her website at

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