Soul Traps

by Kurt Kirchmeier

She calls to you from ten feet past the breakwater,
the likeness of a girl with features grim,
and a rucksack full of multicoloured pots,
or "soul traps," as she calls them.
Her eyes are stars in sea foam;
her hair is braided kelp.
You gaze upon her scaly skin with wonder,
and ask her what they're for, these so-called "traps."
She paints for you a scene of sailors drowned,
of spirits free and swimming for the surface,
but rarely do they make it,
for among the ones who call the sea their home
are those who fancy trophies from above,
those who carry pots and brandish tridents.
Hunters, some would call them. Collectors.
It seems her father counts himself as one.
She says she can't abide such savage sport
and begs of you to please come down and take them,
quickly now, before he knows they're gone.
The angel on your shoulder calls for pause,
but the devil's voice is louder in your ear.
It says for you to help her;
it says to take the lure.
Down the rocks and into shallow water,
and once you're close enough she pulls you in,
holds you fast beneath the gentle waves.
The daughter of a hunter learns to bait.

Kurt Kirchmeier is a prairie-born writer who currently lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with his beautiful wife and a cat by the name of Prophet. Kurt's poems have appeared in Aberrant Dreams, Abyss & Apex, Star*Line, and elsewhere. For more information, visit his website or his Livejournal. Kurt's favorite fruits are field berries (he tried to narrow it down but couldn't).

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