Matter’s Edge

For the fish washed up to shore far behind
the trawl lines, scales gone dry & gills stiffened

by coastal winds, not for them rotting but for gulls
arrived too late, shooed away as children

free their piled dreams like sand buckets, this poem
is theirs. Not the maggot hand clinging

behind the skull’s exposed eye socket, or the jelly
displaced by drift into the sun’s aberrant reflection

but to the beach lice the signs once warned of, the swell
that makes the still-intact tail appear to move

breath back to sea, not the crested waves’
break full of discarded shell but its weight,

the time it spends empty, to which I give
this ode. To all that is hollow or hollows fill

arriving the color of tide matching the low cloud
that brims this cavity, empty except where a storm

should be, all the space constituting what worth this is for.


A graduate of Colorado State U’s MFA program, Jerrod E. Bohn is the author of three full-length poetry books, Animal Histories (2017), PULP: A Manifesto (2018), and Ventric(L)e (forthcoming 2023) all from Unsolicited Press. His poetry and nonfiction has appeared in numerous literary journals and other publications. Bohn currently lives in Seattle where he is a college professor and part time writer for Bandbox Vinyl Record Club. Additionally, he runs Gravel: A Reading Series at a local brewery and enjoys cooking and being outdoors.


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