Red Sea Merman


Doomed Romance

I met a blond man
in an erotic bookstore.
We stood overlooking
the Pacific Coast Highway.

He said, “Night is for man
to press pedal to metal.
Night is for woman
to be safe at home.

I pressed his hand
so he’d know how I felt.
Then I unhitched my girdle,
dove into the headlight stream.

I flippered and breast-stroked
like a gefilte-fish mermaid.
Malibu selkies sang to me
sagas of pacific Vikings.


Author Bio: Jan Steckel’s poetry book, The Horizontal Poet (Zeitgeist Press, 2011), won a Lambda Literary Award. Her fiction chapbook, Mixing Tracks (Gertrude Press, 2009), and poetry chapbook, The Underwater Hospital (Zeitgeist Press, 2006), also won awards. Her short story collection, Ghosts and Oceans, is seeking a publisher. She lives in East Oakland.

Artwork: John Smiddy was born San Jose, CA in 1966. He received his BA from UCSC in 1989 and his MA from SFSU in 1998. He lives and works in Oakland, CA.