I. electric mermaid, swims in the waves of yesterday’s phone calls. she’s powered by the art of conversation, tail fanning out in the nothingness of time and space. gentlemen in suits and ties, try to get their business-oiled fingers on her diamante-studded scales. like the edge of a word it is poised to slice and scar and separate — finger from fingerprint, leaving you anonymous and whole and new and clean. electronic mermaid wants a fresh start too, but she’s a cripple with an animatronic tail. she’s as nameless as an electrical impulse. pulse that jerks along wires and strings. who knows what makes that heart of hers beat. in a thousand years, our civilization will plunge into the gaping wonderland of its own making. then, under the veil of dawn, you’ll carefully pry her chest apart to extract the clot of gears and cogs, cocooned by her warmth… and layers of dust.

II. luminous eyes cerulean glow the electric crustaceans chitter and skitter. black hole, dark swallowing the little creatures with the grills filtering the unworthy out like krill rushing towards a whale’s belly. swift as the wind, clumsy as a toddler taking first steps. the journey to the other side is fraught with dangers such as the service providers and their unpredictable failures. during overloads the mechanical shrimp swarm. blockage and blockades. the electric mermaids gnaw on the wires, trying to free their prey. hunger is a net flung far out into the sea of miscommunication. ever-expanding net, ever-growing hunger. the scales shine, the skin glows from each lost love and last word over the phone. goodbyes dangling like nooses.

tragedy strikes and calls to them, drawing them in by the dozen. engine failure and gale force winds lead to life and death, regulations flouted; even the pilot wants to phone home to his mother. electric mermaid is one of the electric mermaids. she has no name, there is no future to be found in names. she holds back, sliding in among the weeds as her sisters surge forth to devour their meal of shrimp. while they feast on impending doom and the sounds of helpless sobbing, she reaches tentatively for a snack of uncertainty. and it is enough.

// the stars winked at her, and she felt like the homeliest bowl of soup in the world. all she’d wanted was to be held and appreciated. the curl of fingers cupping a bowl resembled, in her mind, the invisible container that surrounds a lotus flower as it blooms. wrapped in the threadbare cloak, she lay down with her back to the assortment of prickly grasses, and fell asleep. //


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