The siren, in silence, scales the blue-wave cathedral to the surface. She bathes in red light on waves. Flames blossom onto night-black water. Her pearl-scraped skin and scales change to human skin. She finds his breath, then dives to a world as blue as burning sulfur. She buries her dreams in the falling fathoms.
Returning to the surface, trading voice for air, the siren asks what is desire if not a sadness she can spell in shark teeth and sunrise and seafoam. As she watches love get torn from her grasp, she retreats to sky ripening with light.
Tiffany Morris is a Mi’kmaw writer of speculative poetry and fiction from K’jipuktuk (Halifax), Nova Scotia. She is the author of the chapbook Havoc In Silence (Molten Molecular Minutiae, 2019) and has been published in Augur Magazine, Blood Bath Lit Zine, and Apparition Lit, among others. Find her online at tiffmorris.com or on twitter @tiffmorris.
Author’s Comments/Backstory: “‘Surfacing’ is a poem partly about Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Little Mermaid,’ a spiritual fairy tale about the ways that desire can dismantle us, disappoint us, and transform the world as we traverse it. It asks us what it means when our yearning is secret, silenced, without voice – how do we express it, and how does it show up outside of us? ‘Surfacing’ also has an element of siren-as-psychopomp, and how desire can become literal death, or the death of old worlds, old selves, and old longing. Desire is a siren song, sometimes even for the siren herself.”
Editor’s Notes: Image credit: The Kidagakash ‘Kida’ Ariel Aurora Walt Mermaid (freepngimg.com) is combined with an abstract wave (getwallpapers.com).