by Maura McHugh

Her hair is plankton foam
Cresting the speeding swell
As my ruptured ship sinks
Into airless oblivion.
I clutch a plank
Sputter salt water
And swear fealty to her
For breath and surety.

Her lips are soft
But her tongue is rough
Like a cat's
And her teeth
Possess the saw edge of a shark.
"Do not forsake me," she says.
She hooks my belt
And propels us with her tail.
I gurgle heartfelt promises
Before I faint.

I wake upon the beach
And she lies beside me
Naked, fresh, and keen:
I land her.
Split open her thighs
And spit her
Until she cries
With passion.
Her teeth tear into my shoulder
And I shudder,
Froth laps around our hips.
No land wench was ever like this.
"I'll never leave you," I swear.

She stretches her legs
Wriggles her toes
And grins.

I flop in pain.
My legs fuse
Scales erupt upon their skin:
The ocean is a chorus in my skull
Urging union.
I dive into the sonorous surf
Elated and afraid.

From the sandy shore
She waves, turns,
And strolls towards town.

I bob upon the brine
And pine for her return.

Maura McHugh was born in the USA, but transplanted early to Ireland, where telecommunication masts sprout beside Neolithic graves. Her stories have appeared in Cabinet des Fees, the Fantasy collection edited by Sean Wallace and Paul Tremblay, Shroud Magazine, Pseudopod, and Black Static with more forthcoming in Paradox Magazine, Doorways Magazine, Arkham Tales, and All Hallows. Her poetry has appeared in the Jabberwocky 3 anthology, and placed second in the Doorways Magazine annual poetry competition.

Cherries reminds her of "Cherry-Time" by Robert Graves, an appropriate poem for Goblin Fruit.

Back to Table of Contents