The Fisherwoman and the Queen of Gulls


Devin Miller

The Fisherwoman and the Queen of Gulls

I‌ ‌love‌ ‌a‌ ‌woman‌ ‌whose‌ ‌feet‌ ‌are‌ ‌stone-scarred‌ ‌
on‌ ‌sharp-sheared‌ ‌beach‌ ‌granite.‌
She‌ ‌cries‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌gulls,‌
is‌ ‌razor-tempered‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌swan.‌
Her‌ ‌hair‌ ‌is‌ ‌tangled,‌ ‌part‌ ‌feathers,‌
part‌ ‌sea-wrack,‌ ‌part‌ ‌wind.‌
Her‌ ‌feet‌ ‌are‌ ‌green‌ ‌as‌ ‌the‌ ‌rocks,‌
pale‌ ‌as‌ ‌clear‌ ‌sea‌ ‌glass,‌
yet careful‌ ‌as‌ ‌the‌ ‌feet‌ ‌of‌ ‌a‌ ‌tern‌
under‌ ‌its‌ ‌hollow‌ ‌bird‌ ‌bones.‌

I‌ ‌love‌ ‌a‌ ‌woman‌ ‌who‌ ‌is‌ ‌queen‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌sea‌ ‌birds,‌‌
daughter‌ ‌of‌ ‌gulls,‌ ‌mother‌ ‌of‌ ‌swans,‌
sister‌ ‌of‌ ‌kelp‌ ‌and‌ ‌sea‌grass.‌
Her‌ ‌armor‌ ‌is‌ ‌shell,‌
her‌ ‌hands,‌ ‌cups‌ ‌of‌ ‌salt‌water,‌
her‌ ‌smile‌ ‌the‌ ‌curve‌ ‌of‌ ‌‌the shore.‌ ‌

I‌ ‌go‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌beach‌ ‌at‌ ‌low‌ ‌tide‌
and‌ ‌find‌ ‌her‌ ‌by‌ ‌following‌ ‌wet‌ ‌hollows‌
of‌ ‌ducks’‌ ‌feet‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌rocks.‌
I‌ ‌kiss‌ ‌the‌ ‌shells‌ ‌of‌ ‌her‌ ‌eyes‌
and‌ ‌her‌ ‌sunset‌ ‌lips,‌ ‌sailor’s‌ ‌delight,‌
but‌ ‌when‌ ‌the‌ ‌tide‌ ‌comes‌ ‌in‌
and‌ ‌I‌ ‌am‌ ‌wet‌ ‌with‌ ‌sea‌ ‌spray,‌ ‌I‌ ‌leave‌ ‌her,‌
calling‌ ‌into‌ ‌the‌ ‌salt‌ ‌night‌
with‌ ‌the‌ ‌birds.‌


Author’s Comments:  In 2019, I attended Dublin Worldcon, where the panel on speculative poetry inspired me to spend the rest of my time in Ireland looking for material. Galway had the sort of rocky, seaweedy beach I like best. It was populated with gulls, ducks, and some sort of corvid that looked, for all the world, like the disreputable servant of a hag goddess. I wrote the poem sitting in a Galway teashop.

Devin Miller is a queer, genderqueer cyborg and lifelong denizen of Seattle, with a love of muddy beaches to show for it. Their short fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and poetry in Liminality, as well as on select King County Metro bus terminals. You can find Devin and their cat on Twitter @devzmiller.

Editor’s Notes: Image is a conflation of seagulls in flight (nicepng) with a goddess (Spillwords Press/from a story in, “Seaweed Goddess” by Joyce Butler)


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