Hillsboro Bay

Holly Day

The jellyfish flutter just below the surface of the water, clustered together so tightly
you could walk across them to the other side. You couldn’t really, of course, 
you would sink right through them and end up underneath the seething cloud 
of undulating tentacles, but it looks like you could just run over the top of them
if you were fast enough and light enough. 

If you took a deep breath and lay flat on the swarm, on your back
arms stretched out on either side, you would probably float, and if you were lucky
the jellyfish would be clustered so tightly that the tentacles 
wouldn’t touch you, and then, if you turned your head slightly 
so that your ear was submerged, you could hear them sing. It’s like the buzzing of bees
or the thrumming of a hummingbird’s wings or a chorus of angry helicopters. Underwater, it’s
much louder than even standing here on the shore, watching them pass. 

If you were to plunge your hands into the cloud of jellyfish just right
you could wear two of them just like a pair of gloves, and you wouldn’t get stung.
You could do that with your feet, too, wear two jellyfish just like boots
and walk among them without worrying about being stung. The jellyfish you’re wearing
will tell the other jellyfish that you’re one of them. After a while, they’ll let you swim
in their cluster, let you continue to follow them out to sea under their protection. 

Holly Day (hollylday.blogspot.com) has been a writing instructor at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Hubbub, Grain, and Third Wednesday, and her newest books are The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body (Anaphora Literary Press), Book of Beasts (Weasel Press), Bound in Ice (Shanti Arts), and Music Composition for Dummies (Wiley).