As though she had slipped from oyster-moon,
pearled star and Homeric myth
she emerges, full-sized, non-fictional
out of Odysseus’ bathtub. She catches his eye
while he shaves, reeling him back
with her smiling hooks, bare breasts
bobbing and clotted with suds.
A siren instead of a seabass,
his trophy girl with a tail.
She is no clean little mermaid.
Some days, her mind is so full of filth
she insists he fill up the bathtub, blows him
off course, bubble-blasted,
white-fizzing, thick as seafoam below deck–
the scalloping pump of dangerous scales,
armed with sailor bones and shackles,
and her hair dragged back
at a thousand knots.
Grinning below her skeleton boys,
the man overboard sucked
to the frothy gulp
of washing her mouth out with soap.
Odysseus quakes in his towel.
She rolls back, singing a siren’s words
and smiling, sinks him whole.