Barely Breathe

Constance wears a blue and white swimsuit, cheap sunglasses, a pewter saint medal.

She looks out on the sea, briny wind stiffening her short and punky and bleached hair.

The mermaids are out there, pissed and perplexed, ready to make war on us in earnest.

They are easy in the water, and in the dark so far from here, and she can barely breathe.


Saints are filled with anger, just like the prophets, but are human in their denial of flesh.

Constance’s lips ache for the kisses that a lover can give, soft and tender, a carnal piety.

The mermaids watch her past the breakers, but she will not go to them, no more baptism.

Baptised in a Hollywood swimming pool, and drowned in the guilt of men’s faith.


The water that was mother’s womb, the warmth of dreams of becoming, that was free.

The mermaids swim close, but no one pays them no mind, for only angels are welcomed.

Tenderness can corrupt, and that lover broke Constance’s heart, and only hunger remains.

The water does not clean, and she is not native to the cold depths, only wishing to go in.

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