​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L

B Y   B A Y L E I G H   F R A S E R

I N   A M E R I C A

When the whales bombard the shoreline,
I remember weathered tombstones
where my grandmother brought me
with paper and snapped crayons, the grass 
palming undone fences like wires of a home, 
the church nailed shut. Press the paper 
against the stone, she said, and you will find 
a name scraped onto the page. 
So John. So Martha. So books of names 
like an army in my lap as I rubbed 
my colors across each blurred engraving. 
Names which must have tangled with the air.
Across the street. Around the house. 
Someone running into a sunset: 
Come home. Names like whale songs
which have drifted into darkness. 
Which became wounds. Which became echoes
with no walls to touch. Which became 
the search party of my hands, which became buoys
to navigate the terrain of dying.  
The wind felt like a current that would take me—
how would I know? The whales did not 
recognize the shore until it held them 
like rigor mortis. Until it burned.

Bayleigh Fraser is an American poet currently residing and writing in Canada, where she hopes to soon continue her education. She previously studied at Stetson University in Deland, Florida. A Best of the Net, Pushcart Prize, and Best New Poets nominee, her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in 3Elements Review, A Bad Penny Review, Antiphon, The Brooklyn Quarterly, Forage, One, Qu, Rattle and other publications.