Andromeda’s Lament

Andromeda’s Lament
Gretchen Tessmer

the wind whispered change, heralded by bells
of tinkling tunes and melodies

so pale, so plain

a boatswain call off a ragged coast, I fell
beneath a spell

of rescue, long hoped for, but never made
from the dizzying heights
of this cliff-side cage

but I’d grown so used to
the sound of waves, crashing over black rocks

and gulls dropping shells to crack open a prize, and eat
the flesh they found inside
whether sour or sweet—

my skin grew scales and became salt-speckled
with seaweed strands of red-brown hair, and
nails made of white whalebone

I’m afraid…

when Perseus cut me down
and tried to pull me away, I struggled

I dug those nails into
rock, into limestone bluffs

clinging to my cage

(my home)

this sea-soaked place

where the Kraken rose up
from moon-tossed surf
to gently kiss
my trembling brow

where I forgot my mother’s name; where I forgot my father’s face

where I forgot the gilded language
of shallow love and vain heroes

that left me chained here in the first place

Gretchen Tessmer is a writer based in the U.S./Canadian borderlands. She writes both short fiction and poetry, with work appearing in over forty publications, including Nature, Strange Horizons and F&SF, as well as previous appearances in Liminality.