Catherine Hervey

Catherine Hervey is a writer from South Texas who currently lives in Illinois. She is a graduate of the Sewanee School of Letters and contributes to Books and Culture. She writes novels when her children are asleep.


There’d be no songs if we weren’t sacrificed.
We’re all just scraps of tulle—pale girls with doom
across our foreheads like a set of gems,
all willowed, pale, and miserable in trees
or caves or cities hidden in the rocks.

My story as it’s sung today is this:
I was once a woman, now a river.
I had a lover and we ran away.
I got lost and he set sail alone.

I fell asleep in flowers, dozed into
my destiny as love went down in froths
of glory in the sea a world away.
Such passive, simple marching into fame
so great I absolutely had to die.

I was diaphanous already.
I finally caught the echo of my name
from salty dying lips that wouldn’t speak
again. Too storied for this slender neck,
too heavy for this scrap of tulle. And so
these tatters float along this muddy bank,
dissolved into its time-resisting stream.

My echo’s trapped somewhere beneath the rocks
and it sounds better than I ever did,
ungathered there. Go ahead and sing.





Featured image by: Anders Linden