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Ocean Princess

Chapter Text

 

I was once a mermaid who loved the sun

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I wasn't a very clever mermaid.

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They say I should have known better

I think it's better to have never known

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What happened?

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I met you

That's what happened

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They say my mother was the night-

Unseen, unheard

Coming, going, leaving

Me

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Yes, I am midnight's daughter

I am shadow

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I was a mermaid

I was a little girl

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And then there was you

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You came

Child of the whirlwind

You

With your termite eyes

With your diced-star teeth

Hauling the universe in with a braid

Of thickest darkness

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You whose antics could never leave a sea fan

Uncrooked

For you bent them with the weight of the world

That hovers around you

In chirping noises

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If I used your hair, I asked

Could I catch Mother's face

Or Father's or Brothers' or Friends' faces?

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You laughed

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You told me your heart had crawled away

Unbleeding

You promised the corals would dance

If I would sing

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So I did

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I sang the oysters and the crabs

I sang the sharks

I sang jellyfish

And the tiniest gobies

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One day, I sang the sun

You hated that

The moon, you screamed, the moon!

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So I sang the moon

And someone heard me

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Tell you a secret

I didn't want the corals or the sun or the moon

I didn't want pearls or sea flowers or starfish

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A song is a heart seeking...

Did you know that?

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All I wanted was to hear you

Calling

Me

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OLD HAG

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Say it again, please?

Just one more time?

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I was a mermaid

I was a little girl

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And then I saw you

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You

With your elephant's tusk palace

With your floating island shaped like a whale's belly

With eight warriors in the vanguard

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You with hair that drips of plums

Staining

Everywhere, everywhere, everywhere

And me

.

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Did you ever know

I was once a little girl

Cradled by her mother-

Her crushed-eggshells-and-cochineal-faced mother?

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Maybe that's it

You knew, didn't you?

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The night you fell overboard

I was fighting

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The greedy waves sought chunks of my tail

Digging, gouging, one scale each

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They roared

Ferocious

I growled back

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I battled the sea

To save you

I would drink it up

I would eat it

I would

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And you saw that

And you smiled-

Cruel

As the foam-dashed cliffs

Where pebbled rocks beat into barebones shore

Taking, taking, more and-

No more

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You ripped off my scales one by one by one

Calling it a gift

You claimed it was to save me

From the sea

From the sea?

Ha!

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Now I know legs

I also know lost

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It's with bile I remember the way

You called me

PRINCESS

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I am not a mermaid

I am not a little girl

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Not anymore

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But

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Then

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You saw me

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You

Mirror of sunshine

You with a smile blessed by fireflies

With a flock of lemon-cheese swans on your head

And candle eyes

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You saw me

With jelly legs

With pincushion feet

With tearless eyelids

(Because crying would have been easier)

Wafting through the ether

Dead and undead

This air sprite born of sea foam

And wrong choices

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You reached for beams of light

And sculpted them into flowers

And gave them to me

My translucent soul flickered stronger

Stronger

Until I saw myself

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I told you the sun bleeds

You reminded me dawn had not yet been ripped apart

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You called me

Kougyoku

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No longer the mermaid

No trace of the little girl

I am Kougyoku.