Sea Chanteys – Ann Howells

1. We might have been mermaids
in the aquarium’s glass tunnel,
rays gliding like wind-filled sails,
octopus grabbing glass, siphoning past.
Pucker-lipped groupers blowing kisses.

2. Jaws played theaters the year
we dived from the long pier.
The most dangerous creatures
we’d encounter were jellyfish,
but our hearts beat faster.

3. On the bridge we held noses,
tucked hearts beneath tongues, leaped
to the channel below. Was it fun?
Yes! Because it was not allowed.
Because our parents warned us.
Because if the boys did it so could we.

Ann HowellsAnn Howells edited Illya’s Honey for eighteen years, both in print and online. Her most recent books are: So Long As We Speak Their Names (Kelsay Books, 2019) and Painting the Pinwheel Sky (Assure Press, 2020). Her work appears in many small press and university journals both here and abroad.