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Libation - Excerpt from Drowned: A Mermaid's Manifesto


we are all uncomfortable

I think

hands at my sides

her raw face the color of meat

downcast eyes

land on my shoes

an apology of sorts

but not really

she is concerned only

with fault lines

breaks in conversation

the kitchen is too hot

but she cannot leave

if she leaves

she admits

that this place has no room for her voice

this cannot happen

she fills it

the room

with her presence

her face full of tears

I do not hasten to assist

do not wave my white flag

surrender to her needs

she is a confused mass

of mollified hysteria

turning up the volume

of her heaving

tears will come soon

this is the part

where I am supposed to shelf myself

make all of me

all about her

who cannot handle being sidelined

becoming footnote

needs to be the life of the party

the center of the room

a conversation starter of topics

she can easily expert

easily control

like the rest of us

I do not aid in her coup

I do not make it easy

I hold my cup out in front of me

pretend to catch her reign of tears

take a healthy gulp of her sadness

her struggle

drink it all in


I can feel the change in her posture

the sharp intake of breath

the insult the agony

I continue talking about the hard truths

nobody wants to talk about

which is why the conversation keeps coming up

we are all uncomfortable

with cup in hands

swirling the dregs of her tears

the tears she uses to drown my voice

to drown my black

the sorrow she keeps close

just for this occasion

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