Melusine on a Williamsburg Sunday, 2016
CW: Body horror
Melusine is a fae princess of French folklore who is cursed to grow a dragon-like tail each Sunday. In the myth, she marries a mortal prince and hides this from him by locking herself in a marble bath. You can see her now on the logo for Starbucks.
Violet droplets fall as she lifts a virescent question mark
of tentacle from jasmine scented water.
A new bath bomb from her
monthly trip to Lush. All the stores peddle
December, the celebration when
men tore down her mothers’
feast days, took their pain, and called it holy.
She still remembers a wilder world; the calls of mourning
doves. Those ancestors to today’s pigeons,
missing legs and orange eyes.
Dissonance, not unlike herself;
she likes anything chimera. Seven hundred years
and, finally, a small salvation.
She doesn’t have to look at her fault
line in the painted water. Safety is a toy for big little girls who
find their bodies too much limb, their brains too polluted.
In the morning, when her legs return, there will be glitter hickies
where her suction cups stuck to the sides of the tub.
She has been here since eleven the night before
gripping the faucet handle with a sucker to keep
the water warm. The playlist filled with Santigold
and FKA Twigs will run until just
before morning—only necessary silence
when all these long ends coalesce again.
The cat won’t need to eat
since he smells prey here. He doesn’t leave
the bath mat but will purr when she half-falls
out of the tub tomorrow, equal parts devotion
and hunger. The Mirtrazapine,
in addition to leveling her mood,
makes her sleep even sitting up.
She keeps waiting to drown.
Mel leans her head back. Her nights are always long.
Her door has six locks even with gentrification.
She can smell herself
mingled with the heavy perfume
of the bomb, like koi in a pond
surrounded by cherry blossoms.
Under the ink, her curse
finds the girlhood it forgot, a grotto
amongst kelp fronds. She pushes a tip
inside herself, then two, three…
The bath froths with her lashing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
LIV MAMMONE is an editor and poet from Long Island, New York. Her poetry has appeared in wordgathering, monstering, Wicked Banshee, The Medical Journal of Australia, and others. In 2017, she competed team for Union Square Slam as the first disabled woman to be on a New York national poetry slam team and appeared in the play The Fall of All Atomic Angels as part of a festival that was named Best of Off Off Broadway by Time Out Magazine. She was also a finalist in the Capturing Fire National Poetry Slam in Washington DC. Her most recent editorial job, Uma Dwivedi’s poetry collection They Called her Goddess; we Named her Girl, was nominated for a Write Bloody book award.