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When I Was a Mermaid
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When I was a mermaid I was useless
and briny as a truckload of seahorses
in Kentucky, my underwater assets

left to the imagination of coarse
whoevers dashed against cliffsides, as if
my tongue spun silver, not seaweed. Worst

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

for. White Rock or Sirena, I was more
than 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 doting
on 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

and sailors. When I was a mermaid, all
mythos and luminescence, I spoke sonic
and swam with the arch genius of mammals

who winked at me as I climbed Celtic
and two-legged from seawater to island,
where breath entered me, quick, sexual.

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.

Copyright © 2013 Maureen Seaton
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Maureen Seaton. "When I Was a Mermaid." WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly 41.3 (2013): 56-57. Project MUSE. Web. 9 Dec. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Seaton, M.(2013). When I Was a Mermaid. WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly 41(3), 56-57. The Feminist Press. Retrieved December 9, 2013, from Project MUSE database.
Maureen Seaton. "When I Was a Mermaid." WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly 41, no. 3 (2013): 56-57. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed December 9, 2013).
T1 - When I Was a Mermaid
A1 - Maureen Seaton
JF - WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly
VL - 41
IS - 3
SP - 56
EP - 57
PY - 2013
PB - The Feminist Press
SN - 1934-1520
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/wsq/v041/41.3-4.seaton.html
N1 - Volume 41, Numbers 3 & 4, Fall/Winter 2013
ER -


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