Mermaid Syndrome

by Jennifer Crow

You wake from dreams of inlaid
mother-of-pearl with your hair
in seaweed tangles and your legs
wound in damp sheets.
A fishy smell percolates
through the apartment,
and the shower tastes like brine.
When you sing to yourself
the neighborhood cats purr on the sill
and the delivery man
whistles from the street. He knocks,
but forgets why because the song
dies on your lips.
Beneath the bus's hum and screech
you hear the susurrus
of waves and distant cries of gulls.
Your clothes constrict -- at work,
during your lunch break you loosen
your blouse past the point of decency
and splash chlorinated water
on flushed cheeks. Behind your reflection
a beach awaits you -- volcanic sands
polished by the tide, and your sisters
weeping for joy in the surf.

As befits her magpie mind, Jennifer Crow is currently reading several books, including Patricia McKillip's Song for the Basilisk, Ray Kurzweil's The Singularity Is Near, and The Age of Louis XIV by Will and Ariel Durant. She keeps an LJ about her writerly doings here.

Back to the Table of Contents.