The Whalemaid, Singing

Fathoms I voyage below you,
my hair the ship–snarling reach of sargasso,
my flukes speeding the moon’s rise to the shore.
Would you have me hooked from the water
like mackerel, light as krill and cold as whiting
to warm in a sailor’s arms?
I sing the depths and soundings,
the lightless stacks and the equatorial shallows,
the fish–breeding coasts and the ragged ice;
I bait my line for your ears
like the new moon fishes for spring tide.
Haul me into your boat and I will break it
as surely as I have nets, irons, and hearts
and leave you undrowned, gasping only air.
My shadow races galleons, whalers, islands.
The wake I leave is not a path for you.

(Editors’ Note: The Uncanny Podcast Episode 2 features “The Whalemaid, Singing” read by Amal El–Mohtar.)

Sonya Taaffe

Sonya Taaffe’s short fiction and poetry can be found in the collections Ghost Signs (Aqueduct Press), A Mayse–Bikhl (Papaveria Press), Postcards from the Province of Hyphens (Prime Books), and Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books), and in various anthologies including Spelling the Hours: Poetry Celebrating the Forgotten Others of Science and Technology, An Alphabet of Embers: An Anthology of Unclassifiables, and Dreams from the Witch House: Female Voices of Lovecraftian Horror. She is currently senior poetry editor at Strange Horizons; she holds master’s degrees in Classics from Brandeis and Yale and once named a Kuiper belt object. She lives in Somerville with her husband and two cats.

Photo Credit: Rob Noyes

One Response to “The Whalemaid, Singing”

  1. Around the Internet (December) | J.August

    […] The Whalemaid, Singing by Sonya Taaffe (poetry, mermaids) […]

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