Photograph by Conrad Zieblan
People often think that we shared a womb
But twenty-two turns of our mother moon
Drove uncharted tides of time between us.
We are lonely mermaids
A colony of two
Stretched out over twin rocks
That drift and skim, and barely hold us up
Seaweed tangled up in hair
Salt crusted on our skin
Yours snowy and mine nutty brown
Salt clinging to our eyelashes
Long limbs tracing submarine breezes,
The water is cool and the waves swell and heave and sigh
But we are too far out for them to break.
The sun shatters on the surface
A scattering of diamond shards
The dogs bark on the shore
I remember playing lifeguards when we were little.
We float on the sea’s breath
Crest rolling hills of blue
And plunge down into the soft silky valleys left in their wake,
We always chose this over catching riptides
Which only bring you back to sand
In a splutter of gritty surf
Beached, grains ground into every nook
That days later fall in cascades from the creases of clothes
A Sahara hiding up a t-shirt sleeve.
I feel closer to you in the arms of the sea
Here I teach you how to grow sea-legs
And we bask in cerulean siren-song
Which croons to the tidal pulse of our veins.
I dream of us chambered together, asleep in our mother’s waters
You are yang’s pale crescent curled into my new-moon yin
A pair of koi fish circling each other
Girls drawn in Pisces.
But the crab watched over your birth
While I have been governed by the maiden
Since before you were dreamt of;
Rubies are your gems, sapphires mine.
Younger reflection of myself
Not a mirror, but a pool
Changed by the cross-hatchings of ripples above
And stirring slumberous things below.
I look out to the place where the sky is soldered to the sea
Blue heavens meld into watery deeps
And I wonder if we could sail up into the air
Like old stories, from time and childhood.
And now night’s shimmering curtain descends
High tides of inky black submerge the day
The sea’s salt has crystallised on the sky
From our ocean dwelling I see us cast above
In seashell stars which tear holes in the dark shore beyond;
Flower crowns of white fire
Encircling our almost-twinned brows
Woven through dusky sheets of hair,
Bathed in the light of night’s lamps
We are become holy and celestial
Etched upon a starscape
Residents of a lofty silver city
A pair of moon-spun sisters
A new constellation.