Field Trip to See the Mermaid

by Beth Cato

the teacher and docent droned on
and on about what merfolk
ate and how they lived
in the wild
kids shrieked when the
mermaid pressed her body 
to the glass and grinned
pointed teeth bared
like she was ready
to eat them all

no one noticed the girl
standing back a bit
presumably taking notes
for the quiz later
but also just happening
to sketch the alarm panel
and where all
the nearest exits were
and giving the water pump
system attached to the tank
a very close look
her smile to the mermaid
not quite so pointy
but as full of promise


© Copyright Beth Cato

Beth Cato hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair west of Phoenix, Arizona. She’s the Nebula Award-nominated author of the Clockwork Dagger duology and the Blood of Earth trilogy from Harper Voyager. Her short stories can be found in publications ranging from Beneath Ceaseless Skies to Uncanny Magazine. In 2019, she won the Rhysling Award for short speculative poetry.

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