Fantasy magazine

From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Things Might Be Different If We All Lived Underwater

Sometimes, when I speak, it comes out in bubbles—
but because you are on land you cannot see them. Big, shining ideas
emerge from my lungs,
rise in the air

It looks like silence to you. Some absence of mind, some poverty
of intellectualism.

If I was a water creature, I would be a platypus mermaid.
In childhood I decided: the platypus is a superior animal, confounding
in their unbelonging, comfortable in their liminality.

You may not understand the appeal of the platypus mermaid. That is okay.
I do not understand the appeal of speaking on land, where dusty words disintegrate,
when you could speak underwater,
in many quiet bubbles.

Sometimes, when I speak, I find myself submerged: navigating currents with open lips.
You are left behind, but only because you would not breathe; drowning humans
is for sirens, not the business of platypus mermaids.

You stare, fish-eyed, human lung’d, as I try to spit words out
through rivers and lakes and seaweed and sediment, grasping at wet sand,
choking it down to form the half-baked land language you prefer.

Sometimes, when I speak, you ask too much;
so comfortable on earth, you do not seek the water, the depths; gravity unsure.

If you did, though. If you did, I would comfort you, kiss your lips to help you breathe,
rub your back as you choked up thoughts, fish-eyed, mer-lung’d, in big, shining, bubbles
that float to a sun-dappled surface.

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Kerry C. Byrne

Kerry C. Byrne is an autistic, queer and nonbinary writer/cat lover living in Toronto. Their work is forthcoming and/or published in KaleidotropeTHIS MagazineThe Temz Review, and others. The rest of the time, they can be found working on Augur Magazine as publisher—or diving deep into the endless void that is their homebrew D&D world. Find them on Twitter as @kercoby.