To Say What I Should Have Ten Years Ago

Burned the pads of my fingers on the hot stovetop
and now I give false fingerprints wherever I travel.
A trick, a trick, but not a cruel-intentioned one—
I don’t know who I am except not myself,
not in any measurable way, not to those who
knew me. This is me quieter, wrapped in sweaters
because she is always cold, always looking
out to the astounding empty of the Atlantic, always
retreating to the snug of the hothouse, the flickering
sweetness of camellias—lopsided hearts—blooming
from out between my teeth. I don’t know
what you’re trawling for, with this detective kit,
this fine powder over every surface of my new
life, your brutish appearance a dozen years
since I escaped. She isn’t here she can’t be
snared because flowers only grow from dead
things trapped in soil, because I was uprooted
but then replanted, because I may not always
be happy now, but I know I am safe, because,
because, because, this one-syllable word I mean,
and I mean to say it specifically, finally, definitively
to you:
                        No.

Devon Bohm received her BA from Smith College and earned her MFA with a dual concentration in Poetry and Fiction from Fairfield University. After serving as Mason Road’s Editor-in-Chief, she worked as an adjunct professor of English. 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 longlisted for Wigleaf’s Top 50 Very Short Fictions 2021. Her work has also been featured in publications such as Labrys, the graveyard zine, horse egg literary, Necessary Fiction, Spry, and Sixfold, with more poetry forthcoming in Sunday Mornings at the River’s Covid anthology and Hole In The Head Review. Her first book of poetry is due out in November 2021 from Cornerstone Press. Follow her on Instagram (@devonpoem) or visit her website at http://www.devonbohm.com.

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