‘Mermaid's Comb’, Colleen Anderson

Illustrations © 2018 Cécile Matthey

 [ Mermaid © 2018 Cécile Matthey ] She pulls the teeth through her hair
a gentle tug, a subtle chewing
of seaweed and kelp
untangling stray fingers from her last catch

It’s not an easy life swimming to and fro
searching for wrecks upon the rocks
She often played her hair like a harp
wishing for more than sinking fellows
or treasures to larder her sea-trenched chests

She yearned to taste something new
to see beyond the seaweed haul
do more than nibble sailors to death
add their ribs and finger bones
to the collar about her neck

Sparkling coins, the winking eyes
of gems nothing but aquatic litter
gaudy encrustations no longer
netting her attention in boring marine games

But what can a girl of fin, scales and flesh do
caught between two worlds
cool calm unfettered depths swept away
the other of dry and bright reaches
where clarity always wins

She combs again her sea-tossed tresses
untangling her life, her loves
her dreams half-formed as pearls
being spun in their shells

Her world changes with the tides
ebbs and flows as does her every whim
discarded when the surge recedes
leaving shells and seaweed
the rejected bodies of men

She eyes the distant moon-skimmed shores
pulls her comb through her hair
and with mirror and siren song
lures women now into her lair

© 2018 Colleen Anderson

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