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Sinead Overbye

   She was under the sea & she was a goddess & she was a mermaid & she was a multi-tentacled

    thing - tasting your skin with suckers’ supple suction, caressing your opal cheek - but really, she

     was quite normal, alone, no one knew where she’d come from or how she’d ended up

       under the ocean with no company but the sharks & the sharks & the eyeless eels suckling

        deep sand surface & the long whale drones from afar - she was young, maybe twenty-one,

           maybe she’d seen the sun before, not anymore – she glided aimlessly, through throbbing

              coral reefs & rocks & debris, dodging rusty car doors, plastic rings, old telephones,

                 a million messages in a million glass bottles but she wasn’t lonely - not at all - she had with her

                   a glass box - a secret thing, in which she kept all noises from her pre-water life - the rush

                    of cars on road, leaves sweeping dust from pavement, air-conditioners clicking on & off  & on

                     mannish hums of generators & sweeter sounds like laughter, tiny sobs, a woman singing to herself

                    on her way out the door - she liked to slumber between sunken chests & press the glass box

                to her head

            & dream - just for a moment - that her old life & her new life were the same, that she could have

        everything . . . but aquatic life was perfect, really – absorbed in the ocean’s largesse - she was weightless,

     careless, boundless - she liked to spin & fly & go, sluicing water with clean strokes, feel the rush of plankton

   pass, sometimes slapping her cheeks like flies – she grew used to the swimming, her skin sprouted barnacles

   & she kept going on & she was now in search of something – she didn’t know what – she encountered catfish,

     dogfish, moonfish, fish with sapphires for eyes, fish with fairy lights sprouting from their gills that had never

       been discovered before, but they didn’t stop her, nor she them, she knew what she wanted, but she had no

         words – words were above water still, they didn’t matter here – she had only feelings

          feelings                        feelings                                  feelings

         & when she got to the very bottom of the ocean floor – where no human had been before – she found,

       to her surprising unsurprise, there was a castle, built from broken timber, chip packets & paperweights with

      faces of movies stars she didn’t remember the names of – names didn’t matter here at all, nor money nor

    power nor the flesh against flesh of sex that people killed for, nor politics, nor the constant stream of news,

    the internet, morals, television advertisements broken washing machines, tears, police sirens, policies,

      trophies, sweat, the raging climate fear……….

        she swims into the castle & she finds her mother there, sitting on a throne – asks, mum why

          aren’t you home ? – her mother deals a deck of cards – they play GO FISH & it makes her want to laugh,

           but she shouldn’t, lest she choke – so they go & really fish instead, catch salmon in their claws, torn

            heads, blood dispersing into sea, sinking molars into flesh – & as they eat she says, what does it mean

           to you to be finally free ? her mum smiles, shrugs, whispers, you already know – but she doesn’t

           and this fishing is making her tired so the girl keeps on, stopping often to press glass box to her ear

         & sigh & sigh & remember the life she’s left behind & she starts to see faded images in water – apparitions,

        maybe ghosts – her own memories as clear as day & light, they glow around her, but that isn’t what

      she wants – painful to remember in full, painful to think of what she’s lost, she would rather just the sounds

    the rush of grass, the chirps of birds flying past – when the world ended she’d been watching birds fly past

   while lying on a rooftop, seeing the tide roll in & up & up & over the town, drowning peaks of buildings &

  she remembers saying, I’ll be fine when the tide comes, I won’t drown – now she swipes the memories

  from water – doesn’t want to see it, doesn’t want to know - & moves onwards with the tides, wherever they go –

  but it’s too late – she’s remembered the past again, for the first time since the whole world died she becomes

   so sad the memories appear & again & again & again she smells a gasoline leak, her arms grow sleek

    with oil black, her grease hair stuck to head barnacled cheek – she begins to sink – the weight of trash &

      memory & the pain pain pain the glass box falls from her hands & opens & opens & she can hear the voice

        of her lover speak


                one day we will                    find a house


                          beneath the                sea –                                       big enough


                                      for all of us –

                                                           & when it all

                                                                         comes crashing



                                                                                                                                              I’ll meet you there

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