PF detail from Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Beach Scene, Guernsey (Children by the Sea in Guernsey) - 1883;

ISSN 
1942-2067

Copyright © 2009 Pirene's Fountain.

All Rights Reserved.

Last updated:
May 2009

 

Tameca L Coleman is a singer and writer currently residing in Denver, Colorado. She has written lyrics and melodies for bands such as Second Sound and The Mosquitones. She has published some poems in small literary and arts magazines such as Divine Revolutions, Equilibrium, and The Denver Music Community. She has won awards in writing song lyrics, poetry, fiction and essays.



 

Mermaid

When Mom wasn’t making cakes
or practicing her off island dialect
of Japanese to the scowling market ladies,
when she wasn’t taking classes on ikebana,
when my sister and I were not at school
on the Kadena air force base,
she drove us across Okinawa.
We’d hang out of the windows,
hair plastered to our necks, enthralled
by green on green, terraces and vineyards and jungles
green, women with baskets on their heads
traveling down the road in their bare feet.
We passed cart-driven men, their ox carrying
bundles of sugarcane. We left them in dust,
giggled as we passed, waved and smiled,
pointed until Mom made us stop.

These were the best times for me:
When the car arrived at the reef,
after we’d seen the oranges, yellows,
and the reds of the sun setting over the water,
after fried chicken and Nehi soda,
after the first sighting of stars,
we hunted cowries with our flashlights,
the drying starfish and conk shells there.
We found shells nicked by seagull beaks,
with something inside of them, still living.
We found sea glass, coins, trinkets, sand
dollars and oyster shells.

One night there was a woman
balanced on a rock over the water.
She was just sitting there, running
a comb through her impossible length
of hair. At first I thought
her a mermaid, but her feet
folded to her side like arms
hugging in close. Her tattered
skirt and ill-fitted blouse
waved in the cooling night.
Her hair, greyed-black, whipped
at the rock, just as the air force jets
sped across the sky on their courses
to and from Vietnam.

She became a silhouette against the sunset,
etched behind my eyes, forever.

Paul Gauguin