by Lorraine Schein
The mermaid swims through the flooded city,
glides between the empty windows of New York’s skyscrapers,
the Empire State’s spire skewered with sharks and octopi
while below fish flit through submerged subway cars.
She struggles over the flooded river to the sea,
dodging bobbing bottles, broken glass,
beer rings caught on her tail, plastic bags clinging to her face,
and emerges to bask on a floating trash island.
The mermaid finds a pink acrylic comb to unsnarl her hair,
then dons some washed-up cheap sunglasses
to shield against the too-hot sun.
She thinks about going to a subsurface water world
like Miranda, Oberon, Pluto
or the exoplanets far beyond our galaxy.
But mermaids are not eligible for the space program–
they get airsick and astronauts require legs.
The mermaid dreams of young Earth,
its new oceans formed from gases of meteors and stars
when the water was clearest crystalline,
an aquamarine mirror to endlessly dive through–
down into tourmaline, turquoise, azure, lapis,
then stygian cerulean depths.
She remembers her time in Atlantis
where no harsh sun or cold moon speared the dark
only the soft glow of neon blue plankton overhead
like moire silk lapping on waves at sunset.
Ghostly anemone trembled below, as lantern fish headlights
swept across fronds of bright coral.
But tonight the stars look like styrofoam beads,
white shards that will never degrade in the sky.
© Copyright Lorraine Schein
Lorraine Schein is a New York writer. Her work has appeared in VICE, Terraform, Strange Horizons, Enchanted Conversation, NewMyths, and Eye to the Telescope, and in the anthologies Tragedy Queens: Stories Inspired by Lana del Rey & Sylvia Plath and XVIII: Stories of Mischief & Mayhem. The Futurist’s Mistress, her poetry book, is available from Mayapple Press: www.mayapplepress.com
Read the Rest of the April Issue
- The Coral Fairy by Lorraine Schein
- The Undersea Crossing Guard by Lorraine Schein and Kris Herndon
- After Atlantis by Lorraine Schein
- The Lady in the Lake by Lorraine Schein
- Gothmaid by Annie Taylor
- The Mermaid’s Dilemma by Michael Angelo Stephens
- Caught by Stevie Rose Maguire
- Cold Weather Accessories for Imaginary Creatures by Lorriane Schein and Kris Herndon
- Bathyscape by S. Brackett Robertson
- Blonde Mermaid by Denisse Di Stelle
- My Little Mermaid by Lorraine Schein
- The Collector by Tara Campell
- Mischievous by Dianita
- The Many Mermaids of Fiction by J. D. Harlock
- Wistful by Annie Taylor
- A Minnow, or Perhaps a Colossal Squid by C. S. E. Cooney and Carlos Hernandez
- The Fin(e) Print by Meg Frank
- Wanted: New Captain & Crew by Julia Rios
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