by E. Sedia

The eyes of mermaid – darkest moons
Reflected in a calm lagoon,
A vortex, bottomless and black,
Where any heart would wreck.

The kiss of mermaid – sweetest breeze,
The taste of salt, the taste of tears,
Of stars, so distant and so wan –
The curse of mortal men.

The love of mermaid – fearsome wave,
An underwater silent cave,
Still waters glowing in the night,
A menacing riptide.

The soul of mermaid – salty spume,
A wreath of seaweed, algal bloom,
A cry of seagull, speck of sail
And mariner’s sad tale.

The death of mermaid – stifled scream,
Impossible and final dream,
The whitest froth upon the waves,
And watery embrace.

Ekaterina Sedia currently lives in New Jersey with the best spouse in the world and two cats; she teaches botany and plant ecology at a state liberal arts college, gardens, and writes books.

Her new novel, The Secret History of Moscow, is coming from Prime Books in November 2007. She is currently working on The Alchemy of Stone. Her short stories have sold to Analog, Baen's Universe, Fantasy Magazine, and Clarkesworld, as well as the Japanese Dreams and Magic in the Mirrorstone anthologies. Her poetry has appeared in Goblin Fruit and Rhysling Anthology 2006.

When asked what poem the word "cherry" immediately makes her think of, she replied, "That's easy. Osip Mandelshtam's 'Mistress of guilty glances.' What, did you expect it to be in English?"

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