The Poetry Project


Andrea Marina Costanzo


I want to live on the bathtub floor,
xxxxxunder the steam//
xxxxxwater dripping into my eyes and rinsing the dirt from my body.
I want to live where it’s quiet
xxxxxand peaceful
xxxxxand safe.
xxxxxAnd the only thing I have to worry about is falling asleep.
The only place where I can think clearly is at the bottom of the tub,
xxxxxwarm and wrapped in the embrace of the water
xxxxx[where I came from.]
The mermaids whisper to me from the drain,
xxxxx“come back.
xxxxxwe miss you
xxxxxfind a mortal and kill him and bring him back to us.”
A mermaid’s job is to kill men,
xxxxxand drag them back down into the deep
xxxxxto be treated as a curiosity.
Come, my little show pony.
xxxxxDidn’t your mother teach you not to talk to strangers?

She said, “Mom, I don’t want to be the mermaid who kills Jude.”

I said, “mother, I will eviscerate him in the depths of the sea so dark that some creatures have lost their pigment and don’t know the feeling of sun on skin and scales. Where they don’t have a word for light because it doesn’t exist.I will kill the man I love so he will be with me forever but really only so that my sisters can feast and be full.”

No one down here tells us to smile because there is no one more powerful than us.

The ocean is filled with everything except mercy.

  • With excerpts from The Seas by Samantha Hunt.

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