Daisie sat on the edge of the river, cold beer in her hand,
just brought up from the cold water where it was sat to cool.
Her friend was asleep in the tent, but she was wakeful, restless,
and sat in the darkness beneath starlight and slash of moonlight.
She felt almost weightless, as if she was straining to break free
from the earth, from gravity and the world, back up to those stars,
from which she’d been seeded, either by supernovas or malevolent beings,
to nothingness of light, the dream that was without wakefulness.
Out in the water, she heard splashing and an animal cry, hissing, angry.
Her eyes had adjusted to the dim luminescence from the stars above,
and in the white shadows, she saw a mermaid, with black, black hair
and glints on aquamarine skin, and eyes that shined, fish in it’s mouth.
The mermaid, bared it’s teeth around it’s kill, angry at being seen.
Daisie’s breath caught, cold fists clutching her lungs, her heart racing.
Eye shine in the bone pale moonlight, they gazed one at the other.
Then the mermaid, with a flick of her tail and a big splash, went under.
Daisie sat there in the starlight, the cold and gripping fists slowly letting go,
and looked out dumbly were the wild and hungry eyes of the mermaid had
gazed out upon her, one of the last wild things, and comforting in it’s harshness.
Even here, only an hour away from Gatlinburg, untamed beasts still lived.
Daisie sipped from her beer, and thought of her friend, sleeping, without a care.
The alcohol, and the cold, the weightless untethering, the flicker of the mad world,
all unmoored her from her flesh, her spirit walking in the stars, on the true moon,
that was Artemis’s skull after the waking of her last daughter’s eyes, so long ago.