The Mermaid’s Lament
by Theodora Goss
They are there, they are still there:
eyes eaten long ago, replaced by coral
and therefore more beautiful, transformed.
Jaws grinning as though at a fine jest.
Their ribs, like the ribs of the ship itself, become
homes for small fish, eels, and squid, more welcoming
than in life. Only their bones
remain, furred green with sea moss,
and the rings on their fingers, looser perhaps
than they once were,
and the green floating hair.
They are there, still there, alas,
lying on beds of algae
under the dark wave:
all the loves I could not save.
(The illustration is by Arthur Rackham.)