• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 03
Image by

My Mother’s Shark Scream

It began one day in the bath.
Perhaps with a hair's breadth worm
tracing folds of her ear, moving inside to multiply.

Evading her t-cells, b-cells, logic,
it set something free that only she could see.
When the bathwater heaved with the wrong

kind of life she shouted for help:
black knots of eels, rat-sized seals with
needles for teeth, cockroach lobsters clicking.

Worse were the mermaids:
Barbies with trout tails, razor sharp scales,
her own wild eyes, panicky white.

Soon there were ropes of blood in the bath,
oozing, spiralling, stroking her thighs like kelp.
Sea flesh circled her fish-grey skin,

probing for ways back in.
Even her carer swooned at the sight of
her megamouth scream, wide as the tub,

oceans heaving deep in its brackish black.
As the plughole gagged on the dregs,
her mind clotted like fish eggs.