Siren Breath by Angela Acosta

Upon her birth on land, 

a siren enchanted a newborn human being.

Cheeks blue like the sea,

she would never take a full breath of air

for as long as she lives. 


Among the waves, 

her legs meld into a tail,

diving headfirst into friendly waters, 

wishing gills could propel her

across low gravity oceans.


Is there an oxygen rich seaweed 

she can eat to escape the merfolk?

Or shall she become accustomed to a different orbit,

seeking air bubbles like a fish out of water

while other children dance along the shoreline?


She wishes to see the stars,

yet the sirens keep her earthbound.

Unable to ascend on chemical rockets,

she creates a breathing apparatus to explore

the seven seas, charting a course to the stars

for future enchanted progeny.


She may never break the spell,

try as she might to capture the siren,

so she trains the next generations

for the challenges that await them on land,

for the chance to be half human, half siren:

differently abled with an adventurous spirit.


This work was previously published in Green Splotches 2022.


About the Author

Angela Acosta (she/her) is a bilingual Latina poet who holds a Ph.D. in Iberian Studies from The Ohio State University. She is a Rhysling finalist with speculative poems in Shoreline of Infinity, Apparition Lit, Radon Journal, and Space & Time. She is author of the Elgin nominated speculative poetry collection Summoning Space Travelers (Hiraeth Publishing, 2022) and forthcoming chapbook Fourth Generation Chicana Unicorn (Dancing Girl Press, 2023).
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