There is a house
on that island. A ruin
where a merman keeps
his only human daughter.
Few have seen her,
and those who might
grow more unpleasant
each time they pass
that blackened rock
jutting through the mist.

At low tide she goes
on her webbed feet
and watches her siblings
shimmer beneath the water.
Oft times they eye her
from the edge of the deep
and sing mean rhymes,
or their deep, ineffable love.

She is an unopened shell
not yet roughened by the sea,
and her pearl is an organ
as yet unswayed,
and at peace with its solitude.

On Fridays her father comes
with a sack of clams
and they sit on the beach
to eat together.
He asks her what she wants.
‘To go from here, to my world?
Or the country of your mother?’

A locked chest,
she curls her toes,
and never has an answer.

© Deanna Scutt, 2016

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