Letters for Nereis

by Sonya Taaffe

Spun to the twelve winds, the combination
unlocks from the rusting weed, opening
hinges clotted up with verdigris coin
for sunken centuries, sand-whispering
a spindrift of maps, haphazardly crammed
with shorthand for all the uncharted seas,
brine cakes that were paper once on land,
an inkwell hermit-housed with anemones
and green as salt, a bottle where no ships sail
but a page of parchment, its lines spar-scratched,
illegible through coral, corked with mussels --
chance-preserved, imperishable driftglass.
This is no dream to drink down. Signed and sealed,
the sea's heart keeps her secrets still.

Sonya Taaffe has a confirmed addiction to myth, folklore, and dead languages. Poems and short stories of hers have won the Rhysling Award, been shortlisted for the SLF Fountain Award and the Dwarf Stars Award, and been reprinted in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase, The Best of Not One of Us, Fantasy: The Best of the Year 2006, Best New Romantic Fantasy 2, and You Have Time for This: Contemporary American Short-Short Stories. A respectable amount of her work can be found in Postcards from the Province of Hyphens and Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books). She holds master’s degrees in Classics from Brandeis and Yale and recently named a Kuiper belt object. If offered the chance to live under a fantasy government, she would eschew sarcastic remarks about the present state of American politics and give the Instrumentality of Mankind (Cordwainer Smith, Norstrilia et alia) a shot.

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