“La Sirena” by Devon Balwit

La Sirena

Being half-woman half-fish
is nothing special.

People always wonder how I do it—
“the act.” (You do too,

I can see, so I’ll tell you.) I scatter
my eggs, pearls

before the swine who follow,
dribbling sperm.

There’s no unzipping of scales on land
to release lithe limbs,

no mooning after men. I’m not
into kink. Yes,

I pull myself up onto rocks and watch
ships pass

like the Danish statue, but that’s
to avoid propellers.

And my father is no Poseidon—just
another predator

near the top of the food chain,
cursing the very sharks

he envies. As with any life, sometimes
there’s current, sometimes

doldrums, and always the same dance
to avoid the drift nets,

the podium in someone’s
freak show.


Devon Balwit writes in Portland, OR. She is a poetry editor for Minute Magazine and has five chapbooks out or forthcoming: How the Blessed Travel (Maverick Duck Press); Forms Most Marvelous (dancing girl press); In Front of the Elements (Grey Borders Books), Where You Were Going Never Was (Grey Borders Books); and The Bow Must Bear the Brunt (Red Flag Poetry). Her individual poems can be found in The Cincinnati Review, Fifth Wednesday, The Stillwater Review, Red Earth Review, The Fourth River, Posit, Emrys Journal, taplit mag, The Ekphrastic Review, and more.

Art by Lorette C. Luzajic. View full image here.



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