amorous advice for the ocean-oriented

do not fall in love.


i apologize for the straightforward

directive but it

must be said.


when you arrive

there will be a woman, waiting,

skin patched and cross-hatched, salt piles

dissolving / becoming / sublimating into

being. she will be beautiful / monstrous /

material. hair tangles of seaweed,

living / writhing / unwilling to sit

straight on her head, knots shifting /

sailing with every movement on

untenable sea. wait for the abyss

to open / swallow / echo; sign of life.

danger and hope entwine here like

tongues of fire dancing on pitch water, like

forbidden lovers dancing on the edge of knives, like

throats dancing with shards of flower petals.


she will sing, voice glinting and refracting

off mirrored waves. she is lonely but that

is not the point. she is servant incarnate but

that is not the point.


do not wear green if

you like your fate free. above all,

do not / do not / do not / let her in.

death has eyes the color of the eclipse;

spellbait for the unsuspecting—


i will not be yours, again.

leave me with whatever remains

of life i hold.

is not once


siren, have



This poem is based on the Javanese legend of Nyi Roro Kidul, the Goddess of the Southern Sea. She has claimed many men who come to her beaches wearing her colour, green. Remember that when you come to visit.


Chiara Situmorang

Chiara Situmorang is a writer, editor, and admirer of the moon. Her work has appeared in Crow & Cross Keys, Perspektif, and Dwelling Literary, among others. She lives in Jakarta with her three little poodles. You can find her talking to herself on Twitter @chiarastmrng.

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