Rock Fight

by Laura Madeline Wiseman

The mermaids gather rocks — small ones, large ones. They drop them into piles that grow from the bottom of the ocean. They roll them between fingers and thumb, tuck them into their hair, press them against the curve of their heart. The mermaids throw rocks at waves, watch them drop, only to catch them mid-fall into darkness. They like to feel where well and sluice has made them round, where quartz edges scratch, where pockmarks and scars soften, rocks like the faces of adolescents, the jaws of men, the underside of what we drag as if we could force pain smooth. The mermaids carry stones — blue, speckled, misshapen, glass. They despise perfection, symmetrical, whole. They scour the beaches. They dig beneath sunken bellies of flotilla, fleet, iceboat, yacht. They take all they want. They seek out damage. They want mine. They want yours.

Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of more than a dozen books and chapbooks and the editor of Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013). Her recent books are American Galactic (Martian Lit Books, 2014), Some Fatal Effects of Curiosity and Disobedience (Lavender Ink, 2014), Queen of the Platform (Anaphora Literary Press, 2013), Sprung (San Francisco Bay Press, 2012), and the collaborative book Intimates and Fools (Les Femmes Folles Books, 2014) with artist Sally Deskins. She holds a doctorate from the University of Nebraska and has received an Academy of American Poets Award, a Mari Sandoz/Prairie Schooner Award, and the Wurlitzer Foundation Fellowship. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Margie, Mid-American Review, and Feminist Studies. Find her online at her website.

Her favourite fruits are sweet cherries.

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