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.


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