This twisting poem is written by Celesti and inspired by the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, The Little Mermaid. See more at Celesti Writes.


He is beautiful, this man. Beautiful, beautiful to me. Night-dark hair that wisps like waves, and cheek like a gull’s wing. Hands uncalloused, soft as seafoam. Brow like an edifice of stone. Eyes, I know, that open to match midday’s sky.
And he is mine.
Mine by right.
The ocean gave him to me.
When he fell, when he fell.
When wind and wave swept him from his ship. When his crew cried out for him. When ocean chose me to have him.
The sunshine never will see him again.
The scar carved upon his face.
The cut, bloody on his cheek.
It was for him I gave it up.
He will take his place with me, deep beneath the sky.
He was promised to me. He said he would rather me, rather me than another.
I hold him in my arms, his weight but silt to me. Forever, forever, are all the things the sea steals promised to me.
It is she, she who holds him now.
I hold him tight to me.
What I gave to have him I will never have again.
The water carries me, carries him. He is stillness like the ocean never is.
He ought to be mine.
He is mine, mine to have. Mine to keep.
What I asked of her was simple.
I bear him away, away from the wreck. The men who called for him still cry, but now it is for their own lives.
A chance for eternity.
What we discard, the sea keeps eternal.
A chance for love.
I loved the statue first, the statue that watched my garden.
The price she asked was easy.
He is the twin of it, the perfect compliment. But better still, he is alive.
I paid it with an easy heart.
If he loves another, I will die.
He will love me, as I love him.
Would I pay it again?
The water that so comforts me, will it comfort him?
Would they pay their price again?
My sisters, beautiful, beautiful still to my eyes. Pride given for my safe return.
The men of his ship will die, drowned, dashed against the rocks. Will he drown, also?
A twitch of my tail turns us about, towards the surface far above.
I should have listened to you.
Above the waves he coughs, as I float.
I love him still, despite the price.
If I cannot keep him beneath the waves, how will he be mine?
The beach that shines in the dawning light lies far, but I am strong.
He should be mine.
Why can he not be mine?
The knife that trembles in my hand was bought more dearly than any kingdom. Life for life, as law says. Me for him.
The sky above the sea shines silver, and the first sliver of sun slips above the horizon.
I drag him up upon the sands, the sharp sun a brand against my skin.
A moment, only a moment more.
A cry rings sharp, and I hear the sounds of men beyond this cove.
I could—
—plunge the knife into his heart, steal back what was taken from me.
—drag him back, back with me beneath the waves.
But I will not.
I stand by the rail for only a moment. I fall, fall into the sea, fall into the embrace of the sisters I will never see again, fall into the waves that gave me birth.
I am in the water again in a moment. I watch, watch as they find him, watch as they call for a doctor, watch as they tell him his life is a miracle.
The sun burns as I have never burned before.
I feel, and do not feel, this last moment.
I slip beneath the waves.