The Mermaid Saint by Avra Margarita

The holy messengers call her

A mermaid, a paragon of women,

Eyes devouring the maiden skin

Giving way to salmon flesh

Grown in the midst of mourning

Her drowned family underwater.

That which is strange and fractal 

Like marine rainbows shiny with salt 

Is annihilated–trial by air, suffocated lungs–

Then venerated–apocryphal saint. 

This savage sea-wanderer, 

The messengers think to themselves, 

Saved at last, her coral-pink soul

Given a mud puddle in heaven, 

Hybrid body buried in dry ground. 

Maybe then she will sprout legs,

They think, thirstier than soil. 

And maybe then, invasive land species, 

We can nestle and nourish ourselves

Between her newfound limbs.