Emmy Newman

Michelle Boisseau Poetry Prize Finalist Poem

The Evaporation of Jellyfish

My friends who lived far away would ask

is it always raining there? 

It was hard to explain how when it rained

my father and I would each pick a pair of boots 

from the black pile in the mudroom 

and go out to fish the salamanders 

from the overflowing pond with the pool skimmer,

although we never had a pool. 

We’d follow the lizards slithering over the cold lava of dirt churned

up by February, rubbing their orange bellies 

into the welcoming ground like catching flames. 

We would go to the beach to watch 

how the rain blends all the grays at once,

litter of cracked mussels, barnacled rocks 

and thick hunks of broken buoys all washing up together. 

You can define the term embrace with texture. 

The jammy nudge of moon jellies in the waves, 

their outlines impossible to define from the slish around our boots. 

He would pick the one thicker piece of water from the sea

and lay the body on a rock for me to feel its waterskin

against mine, to study its perfect see-through heart,

together forgetting what the sun would take once it rose.

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Emmy Newman’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, CALYX: A Journal, New Ohio Review, Yemassee, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for Best New Poets, Best of the Net, several Pushcart Prizes, and currently serves as the Marketing & Events Manager for Split/Lip Press. Find her on Instagram @she_wins_an_emmy.

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