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When my skin touches salt water, I hear magic.
Bring me, please, a sun-touched cockle shell.
Magic sings in me, low and deep, in the voice
of the whale. Bring me honey and a key.
Dress me in kelp, braid my hair with seagrass.
Wait. Pour milk down my spine. Mother whales,
can you taste it? Your children drink it too.
Call my name, leviathans, in your language.
Paint me with salt mud and clay.
Your years match mine. We each are mothers,
then wise women, then fisher queens.
Wait. Hear the waves. This too is a rite.
I do not know why you sing, but you do.
I know why I sing. I have learned this magic.
Place driftwood in my left hand, bread in my right.
Breathe. Nothing smells like this.
When the whale breaches in the harbor,
then the tidepool of my power fills.
My mother was a whalewitch, and now I sing.


[Editor’s Note: Publication of this poem was made possible by a gift from R. N. Adducci during our annual Kickstarter.]

Devin Miller is a queer, genderqueer cyborg and lifelong denizen of Seattle, with a love of muddy beaches to show for it. Their poetry received an honorable mention in the 2022 Rhysling Awards and once appeared on a King County Metro bus terminal. You can find Devin under a tree, probably, or at
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13 May 2024

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