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  • When I Was a Mermaid
  • Maureen Seaton (bio)

When I was a mermaid I was uselessand briny as a truckload of seahorsesin Kentucky, my underwater assets

left to the imagination of coarsewhoevers dashed against cliffsides, as ifmy tongue spun silver, not seaweed. Worst

scenario? Me--stranded on land with-out those scalloped pasties: a ship to shorechastity any brackish maid might wish

for. White Rock or Sirena, I was morethan my torso and tresses: scales, fillets,fluttery fins. Faster than big blues bor-

ing south through silverfish and aqua wave,I was reported alone and dotingon humans while singing them into graves

and infidelity. No matter my “flings”were fuckless, tail thick with spume and salt,my species incomprehensible to kings [End Page 56]

and sailors. When I was a mermaid, allmythos and luminescence, I spoke sonicand swam with the arch genius of mammals

who winked at me as I climbed Celticand two-legged from seawater to island,where breath entered me, quick, sexual. [End Page 57]

Maureen Seaton

Maureen Seaton has authored sixteen poetry collections, both solo and collaborative—most recently, Fibonacci Batman: New and Selected Poems (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2013). Her awards include the Lambda Literary Award, the Iowa Poetry Prize, an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, the Society of Midland Authors Award, and the Pushcart Prize. She teaches creative writing at the University of Miami.



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