A Grave For Fishes

Mermaids don't use combs.
They comb their hair with cuttlefish bones
except that everyone knows how cuttlefish
are cartilaginous, each piece beneath
the scales dissolves with salt ebb and
with time; nothing for the girl
to order seaweed knots against or with.
Underneath the bubble sifts
a lot more grime and silt than Ariel

This is how you fade away: one corpse
at a time, anchovy or sardine or tuna fish.
As each rots it's tossed into the ditch I keep
around my back, the place I'll plant with white-root
diggers once these fins are done. It's a process.
They don't rot overnight. I have years of patience,
though still surprised by their abundance.
Who brought the full nets in?
For what purpose? Fish don't exist
long on land.

Never mind. The intent
isn't clear or relevant. I'll use
the nitrate from your bones mixed in
my happy earth to feed
my greedy greens, their grasping hands
beneath the dirt. We'll bury you,
we'll divorce you,
and then we'll eat you up.


E H Brogan