The Mermaid Of Spokane Falls - Poem by Jalina Mhyana
THE MERMAID OF SPOKANE FALLS
Our only wealth that year was my growing belly.
I uncoiled spool after spool of artist's wire,
bending and twisting a house
full of life-sized creatures,
a voluptuous mermaid and her sea-kin.
Our home became an ocean
with blue-painted walls;
The mermaid and I swam from room to room
while new life floated inside of me.
I thought of our unseen daughter,
If the mermaid led, would she follow,
slip out a window
and dive into the falls, a water sprite?
When the electricity stopped flowing
into our house the walls were a moonless sea.
I parted waves of drapes,
created my seascapes by streetlight
wishing for candles or stars to navigate by.
You sold your blood in bright rooms
to pay the bills,
machines separating you
into various shades of red that ribboned
into other people's bodies,
the way my blood divided
itself into two hearts inside of me,
halving its life between your girls
before it spilled into the nurse's hands.
Our new family huddled darkly on the couch
as cries and headlights cut the cuddle.
The mermaid's scales glinted above our heads
as cars passed; a gift of light.
How I wished our mermaid would take us
far away, down the Spokane Falls
from this city that isn't a city
to god knows where;
we'd hold on for days, for months,
you'd hold the mermaid's hand
and we'd cluster to you;
our infant nursing from my breast
and me suckling your pale, weeping arm.
Like mollusks we'd attach our bloodless bodies
to the mouth of the river—
we'd clean the fortune from its lips;
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