by Keyan Bowes
He was the kind of guy
When people told him
You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar
Said, well actually, you don’t,
And managed never to get the point.
If his words didn’t work, he added more vinegar.
He put it in a spray bottle and aimed it at his targets.
Now he’s up to a water-pistol.
So when he hooked a mermaid, out rock fishing,
And instantaneously coveted her
His first words to her were
Wanna come home with me?
She couldn’t, of course;
But she stretched an arm in his direction
He unhooked her and off she swam
With many a backward look.
He sold his Daly City home
And bought a condo off the Great Highway
Near Ocean Beach.
People wonder what he’s up to
When he clambers around near Seal Rock yelling,
Often she appears,
Leaning her arms on the spray-wet boulders
Amid sun-bathing seals, her long hair
Dripping about her shoulders in the sunshine.
She sings a wordless song recalling whales.
He sits on the rocks and talks about himself.
He brings her offerings and gifts:
Pearls, coconut candy, and a sparkling hair-brush.
She toys with these things while she’s with him
But leaves them behind her when she swims away.
One day he’ll go out there on the rocks
When it’s foggy and the surf is high,
Knowing he shouldn’t but not able to stay away.
He’ll slip. She’ll be waiting.
Fish-Bitch knows all about honey and vinegar.
© Copyright Keyan Bowes
Keyan Bowes is frequently ambushed by stories and took the Clarion Workshop for science fiction and fantasy writers in self-defense. Her work has appeared online in a number of publications including Escape Pod, Fireside, and Constelación; and in print in a dozen anthologies including one from Flame Tree Fiction. She’s a member of SFWA.
Normally peripatetic but San Francisco-based, these days Keyan can be found online or somewhere near Puget Sound.
Read the Rest of the August Issue
- The Heart Sings A Siren by Ali Trotta
- A Nereid’s Guide to the Underworld by E. Catherine Tobler
- Depths by Thomas Jones
- Mammiwata Bay by David Ishaya Osu
- Only Circles in the Sea by Carlie St. George and Clare McCanna
- Twenty Thousand Last Meals on an Exploding Station by Ann LeBlanc
- An elegy for voices Ariel traded for legs by Agwam Kessington
- Dream by Mila Nowak
- mermaid life by Susmita Ramni
- Mystery of the Deep by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
- more fat mermaids by Linda M. Crate
- Waking Dream by Kim Coleman Foote
- Honey and Vinegar and Seawater by Keyan Bowes
- They Will Try to Drain You by Valerie Herron
- The Sea King’s Second Bride by C. S. E. Cooney
- Self portrait as an ocean bed by S. Rupsha Mitra
- Mami-Wata by Tony Ogunlowo
- Underwater Eclipse by Cito Wheelington
- Loving the Other: Hans Christian Andersen and the evolution of mermaid romance in Wester media by Carrie Sessarego
- What Mother Failed to Mention About Dating a Mer-Man by LindaAnn Loschiavo
- I Want to Be Where the People Are: Disability and The Shape of Water by Elsa Sjunneson
- I Am Not Your Tragedy by Carlie St. George and Clare McCanna
- Canto for a Mermaid by William Heath