Mermaids at Tashlikh
by Sonya Taaffe
for Shoshana Stern
At the shoreline, prayer roughens the water
like wind: where sweet interlocks with salt,
footsteps fill; names trodden into sand
darker than deserts, crumbs like apologies
scattered to the elements: sins for the sea
to take apart. At the tideline, the snap
of shells underfoot and sun-bleached weed,
stones cast ashore as clean and polished
as contrition: word-familiar, worn easy,
intractable, that no litany will dissolve.
Let lie ashore, the littoral between sea
and land: between desire and drowning,
healing and hurt; between bread and stones.
Sonya Taaffe has a confirmed addiction to myth, folklore, and dead languages. Poems and short stories of hers have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Locus Award, shortlisted for the SLF Fountain Award, honorably mentioned in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror
, and reprinted in The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase, The Best of Not One of Us, Fantasy: The Best of the Year 2006,
and Best New Romantic Fantasy 2
. 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.
She says, "my favorite kind of weather is anywhere by the ocean, anywhere leaves fall in autumn. I am not designed for hot climates. The sun makes me want to sleep."
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