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Starlight (A Poem About Mermaids)

Since yesterday was the 27th anniversary of the Little Memaid’s original release, I decided to write a mermaid-inspired poem this week, focusing on the darker elements of the original fairytale. (Sidenote: the images are somewhat nsfw.)



If mermaids wore gloves they would hold the bleeding hearts

They plucked carefully in silk white hands;

Carefully like girls with kisses sewn into their lips, girls they could have been once

Carefully like their eyes are not empty, not hungry.

But those are tales of a lifetime ago, and words do not seem to appease.

They steal the hearts of ones they would have called sister,

Sisters with swan-like necks choked with rubies,

Not without grace,

As pearls battle for brilliance.


Blood as it soaks the skin, may leave a mark.

Hearts are heavy under their fingers, heavy with salt, and secrets

Until those too are stolen and slowly examined, worn on their arms as bracelets

Shown off carelessly like laughter.

Hearts are fought for, and this is how:

The one who lasts the longest gets the juiciest heart, and she dares not think of

How dark the blood will look, against

Her small mouth.


She tastes the girl’s name between her teeth with

Every bite and something like relief

Is cupped in her hands

Like starlight.


The moon reaches fruitlessly for the water.

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Jenny Yau

St Andrews

I'm Jenny Yau, 19 and from Hong Kong. Reading, writing poetry and watching tv are my main obsessions. I am sometimes mistaken for a hermit, but I'm friendly once you get to know me :p
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