If I could speak

Marisca Pichette

If I could speak
Catching seashells
             tripping dashing over sand
sinking up to my ankles, I
             falter, waves caressing
your presence away.
Kneeling between worlds
             I scrape scales from my flesh
to glitter in the sun.
             Will you find me here before
I wither, crisped in salt
             shining crystalline bones
you pocket, trinkets
between shrinking toes?
             Beached in comprehension
chapped fins peeling away
             from skin
I gather myself in handfuls
             my nose high above the sea.
I’m falling into shards of glass
             Chasing seashells
with my feet.


Marisca Pichette is an author of speculative fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Her work has been published in Fireside Magazine, Apparition Lit, PseudoPod, Strange Horizons, and PodCastle, among others. She lives in Western Massachusetts, collecting bones and other fragments.

Author’s Backstory and Comments: The first draft of this poem had no clear direction and sat unfinished for two years. When I returned to it at last, I saw the story that would give it shape: drawing on mermaid mythology and the tragedy of Undine. Stranded in between sea and sand, this poem looks in both directions simultaneously. Which do you choose, knowing the risks of each? Is it better to be free and alone, or chasing shadows in the waves, always out of reach?

Editor’s Notes and Image Credit: Abstract sea and sand image [freepik.com]

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