Saturday, May 09, 2015

How a Mermaid Becomes a Daughter

The weeds break under your weight – the ants race across the moss on this river bank, saving what they can. Look at your filthy naked feet, how your middle toe breaks the grass root stem. The feral tabby is walking away from you, his asshole a pink period. Your toenails are ragged, shiny and rough, like drops of milky spittle. The mourning doves clutching the maple branches above us, puff-breasted, both rosy and grey, moan silently. They watch to see what you'll do. In the breeze, the dark throats of the purple sweet peas turn towards you, turn away. The water before us is cool and fast, whistling softly.

A mother is a crack in the world. I touch your matted hair: It's not my fault I love him better. Miles above us, clouds like pulled strands of cotton candy. Like white spiders tackling tiny dogs and cats. We can see nothing from here, no houses, no horizons. Here, the stinking egg shell of the sky crumbles away. The water is full of bright and glinting pebbles. Smooth and cold for your mouth. The chickadees slap and chirp at the margins, flick damp wings at you, try to meet your yellow eyes. See the horse at the bottom of the river, how he gallops along with the stream. He is waiting for you to braid dandelions into his black mane, for you to straddle his brittle back.