The Coral Fairy

by Lorraine Schein

This poem previously appeared in Star*Line, Summer 2020

Under all seas,
my wings branch red filigree.

Redder than the sun’s reflection on the sea 
where insolent mermaids bask
naked as seals on thrusting rocks
taunting passing sailors shamelessly,
flaunting my bright polyps as their jewelry. 

My eyes are bioluminescent deep water,
the green glowing dark of ocean trenches.

I shelter scared fish who seek refuge in me
and sometimes save a drowning human to be
my captured changeling for company.  

To create a child I bud myself asexually–
break a calcium bloom into fragments of me
or spew eggs from my mouth to build a new colony.

If you touch me, I calcify, 
wings perished to white.

Bleached to a ghost, brittle-boned
no more can I spread my red wings through the sea.

© 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:

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