The Whalemaid, Singing

Fathoms I voyage below you,
my hair the ship–snarling reach of sargasso,
my flukes speeding the moon’s rise to the shore.
Would you have me hooked from the water
like mackerel, light as krill and cold as whiting
to warm in a sailor’s arms?
I sing the depths and soundings,
the lightless stacks and the equatorial shallows,
the fish–breeding coasts and the ragged ice;
I bait my line for your ears
like the new moon fishes for spring tide.
Haul me into your boat and I will break it
as surely as I have nets, irons, and hearts
and leave you undrowned, gasping only air.
My shadow races galleons, whalers, islands.
The wake I leave is not a path for you.

(Editors’ Note: The Uncanny Podcast Episode 2 features “The Whalemaid, Singing” read by Amal El–Mohtar.)


Sonya Taaffe

Sonya Taaffe reads dead languages and tells living stories. Her short fiction and poetry have been collected most recently in As the Tide Came Flowing in (Nekyia Press) and previously in Singing Innocence and Experience, Postcards from the Province of Hyphens, A Mayse-Bikhl, Ghost Signs, and the Lambda-nominated Forget the Sleepless Shores. She lives with one of her husbands and both of her cats in Somerville, Massachusetts, where she writes about film for Patreon and remains proud of naming a Kuiper belt object.

Photo Credit: Rob Noyes

One Response to “The Whalemaid, Singing”

  1. Around the Internet (December) | J.August

    […] The Whalemaid, Singing by Sonya Taaffe (poetry, mermaids) […]

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