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She begged me for a draught to take her fish’s fins.
How did she know?
Said she’d give away her voice for not to swim
and then away she’d go
on perfect poised toes.
How did she know?
The liquor she received was not the first.
A hemlock poison spiked with witch’s blood
did scourge these gravely underwater depths;
dark and cold and closing.
sinister and boding.
Some pretty thing twisting through my skyward reeds,
some young voice singing a skylark’s tones,
some fair hair framing big sky-blue eyes--
they all come
and beg a draught of me.
For me to take away her tail
and with it I could have her song,
if at least, at last, I could bestow
two feet to walk and trot,
to skip and trip, to run and dance
and charm and fly.
Well said, indeed!
Take your feet and take your freedom!
Take your beauty,
take your jewelry;
keep your soul and naivety!
You will walk on feet--on cursed feet--
on feet that pain like pins and knives,
on feet that stain your white socks black,
on feet--in vain--a burden and a plague,
on feet, on feet, that make you fly away.
Black blood boil in the deepest sea,
put a pair of feet on me.
I am an urchin sailing adrift,
I am a creature with a human’s gift.
Change my form and let me be
a human girl, forever free.
Let such be my destiny.
So she said,
with her last mutter, “Ta,
all enchanted by the world,
and went skyward with a flip of fair hair
and fish’s fins.
She took herself to higher place;
the littlest mermaid with more bravery,
than a stingray pulled from water,
than a dying, drowning witch.