How to spot a mermaid

by Emily Fox

(after Barbara Kingsolver)

Walk down to the beach 
under a full moon.
Take off your shoes,
let the sand shift between your toes 
like high tide lapping the land.
Resist the urge 
to glance around 
at the gnarl of mangroves
at your back;
allow your eyes to soften
over the water.
Sieve through
the noise
of bird calls and crickets
and the wind combing through leaves
like a mother’s hand at your hair.
Take the tense
from your muscles,
the clench
from your jaw,
let the salt air tunnel its way to your lungs.
Throw away notions of science and magic
and grown-up definitions you don’t need anymore.
Stand soft-boned and humble
before the wide ocean
and believe in
the glint
on that dark horizon.

© Copyright Emily Fox

Emily Fox writes from Queensland, Australia. When not writing, she works in a university library, reads submissions for Aurealis Magazine, and spends quality time with her dog. Her work has appeared in Lightspeed Magazine‘s Women Destroy Science Fiction! Find her on twitter @byemilyfox or at

Read the Rest of the December Issue


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