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“A bra, a bra for all/ sizes” – May Wong,
a bad girl’s book of animals (1969)

Pity the mermaid, she knows nothing about
cunnilingus. Underwear baffles her.

I’d give up my fins, too, to lick that doubt.
To taste what the other side enjoys. Her

body comes out of the sea at dusk, crawls
through the grasses. There are no runaways.

No one gets to swim free. On the stonewall
of the beach – a house; its alien ways

will vex her. Even the shamans among
her kind can only sing about night skies.

We hope a queer stanza, a strange octave
will lead to wonders, to songs that our tongues

forgot. As if it’s language that denies
us all this, and not us denying love.