Suburban Mermaids

by Elya Braden

This poem was previously published in Stoneboat Literary Journal, Spring 2015


Leaping through darkness, we dive 
into the purple glow of our night lagoon, 
down, down, down past languid kelp,
past the ripple-flick of yellow fins like tiny wings
transporting cobalt schools of angelfish.
Past whiskered eels slithering in and out
of rocky hideaways, we keep our distance.

Gliding along the ocean floor, we greet one-eyed 
flounder, waving sea anemone, luminescent viper fish,
and gather diamonds, rubies, sapphires drifting 
in swirls and eddies, waiting to be plucked
by our avaricious hands until our lungs bloom
with need and we kick and claw, climb
to the surface up a ladder of bubbles, explode 
from the water with yawning mouths straining 
air like giant humpbacks gulping krill,

just in time to hear our mother’s insistent shout
lance the darkness. We return the dripping poker chips 
to their revolving carousel, switch off the purple pool light, 
shake silver ribbons of water from our dark curls
and shed our tails as we cross the lawn.  

© Copyright Elya Braden


Elya Braden took a long detour from her creative endeavors to pursue an eighteen-year career as a corporate lawyer and entrepreneur. She is now a writer and mixed-media artist living in Los Angeles and is Assistant Editor of Gyroscope Review. Her work has been published in Calyx, Causeway Lit, Prometheus Dreaming, Rattle Poets Respond, The Coachella Review and elsewhere and has been nominated for a Pushcart and Best of the Net. Her chapbook, Open The Fist, was recently released by Finishing Line Press. www.elyabraden.com.


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