• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 08

A Selkie Visits The Mermaid

I sat down in the coffee shop,
all calm on the surface.
Nursing a licorique sweet and
eeking         out         a flat white
for a long as I could, ordered the Ocean Pie
and played with the salt cellar,
to observe him from the other side
of the glass.

I can see myself in there,
a mainlander on this coastal street.
I know this –
that he has been missold as a maid;
has hoped it will earn him safety, the fool.
We have come to here from different places.
The world was divvied between our types;
as divided, as forked tongued, as our tails.

I knock on the glass,
touch wood, he can hear me.
This was a competition to see
who could breathe your air the longest; pure endurance.
This time above the waves;
he’ll make the best of it.
It’s all an indulgence for me,
I’m on a crest of it.


A Selkie Visits The Mermaid

I could have helped, finagled a release,
but I want to nix, here and now, the rumours
of accord, we are still washed up on the shores
of the reasons for this display.
He steams the glass with a salted breath
and with unfamiliar fingers,
writes himself into recognition
that there’s no way out of this.

As the moon appears, I feel the pull to get back;
contemplate the feelings of my land family,
weigh up time and tide and all that…
Your tall tales tell of skins kept as locks,
insurance policies; it’s all true
and look where it got him.
I walk out, things left unsaid,
and bump into a swan maiden.