Where new writing finds its voice


Eleanor Bryce

It shames me that I mistook you for a dog. 
That I whistled, thinking you were in trouble. Far from it.                 

You must have laughed. 
On the cobbled beach, the thick concrete of the breakwater  
insulted the water with its humanity. Frothing foam and churning sand. 
However angry the sea was with me and my kind, 
You were not. You could never be like that. No. Joy was in your mind  
when you looked with your ink eyes into mine. 
Twilight. Squinting, I saw you for what you were, 
calm and curious in the darkling water, 
the grey light gleaming on your glistening skin, 
and all in my mind the single word: 
I followed you, bound in the spell of your eyes, 
clumsily running the rocks as you swam and dived with ease, 
leading me on over the stones. You tease. You knew  
you’d captivated me. The story reversed: a selkie prince in sealskin 
dancing in the silken waves. I’d break the spell. 
A single kiss to those salted lips  
and I’d have had you for my own.   
But you left with your magic, back to the dark water 
and a worthier bride than a land walker’s daughter.