Unshellt Her
By Periwynklette

what vision the blind man saw
we were told in such compelling
detail we came to believe
we saw it ourselves.
And there were visions seen
less clearly by the near blind man
also told but in a more muddled fashion
and thusly we saw it
the maze of it
as through the haze that gathers
in hill clefts
where stream becomes mist;
where morning fog
rises in the littoral margins;
where shore kisses sea

what then are we to make
of this book:

Unshellt Her;
Being the True Singing of
a Siren’s Song

we assume,
by one calling herself

who pries open
the true sheeshallsaga
of life on a siren’s isle

what the blind
have left uneyed
and the heroes left

she sings

near as compelling as this book itself;
is the Tale of how it came to light…

found by a deepsea diver
to whom a giant oyster opened,
cushioned upon its disturbingly primal belly,
a Pearl of unimaginable sheen and lustre;
and of a size so copious
the astounded diver
was scarce able to surface
while cradling it
in his arms.

for this is no Mechuda legend;
the oyster clearly meant the Pearl
as a Gift to the diver.

What place is this;
where Oysters grow so large
and act with such awareness?

Why this diver?
you might ask.

Ah if we but knew
more . . .

(that more documented,
in detail, in the diver’s book,
Seeking O’er the Seven Seas
by Perdicidus Flyin)

the diver remained at open sea
until the sun was setting
as he did not wish to be seen
with his treasure

so it was by full moon’s light
the phosphorescent sea
lap slapping against the ribs
of his vessel
that he came to shore
and beached his boat.

I know you will find this difficult to believe
but not one thought of fortune
entered the head
of our diver;
he is captivated entranced ensorcelled
by this nacreous orb
so reflective of the one that watches
from above ….

he runs his hands lovingly
around the curve of
its satiny slippery surface.
warm to the touch.

deep yearnings seize him
his mind stirs his body;
and luscious visions of
bellies and breasts
bare and bear upon him.

so overtaken is he
that he does not even think
to marvel at that mysterious
magnificent twolippy bi-valve
who opened to him….

nor of his hunger and thirst
and fatigue.

for he is fully alert
and his hunger and thirst
are not to be quenched
by viands and water
by bread and wine;

though fruit does enter his mind:

apples and apricots
peaches and grapes
and certainly

and bivalves…

our man is no mere simple
he is an exile from
the splendid squalorous dolorous cities
to the north.
a dreamer and scribbler
who sought to escape the grime
and bustle
the sirens and cacophony
of the crowded city.

grieving the degradation of adventure
to mundane skirmishes against bureaucracy
and conformity and hide bound shrink wrapped thinking;
he had decided to write a world for himself
where true adventure lived.

and thrice weekly to dive for oysters
for his repast
and the bonus of pearls
frequent enough to allow the purchase
of rice paper pens
and other
spirited sustenances.

under the conspirational kindness
of night’s mantle he carried
his treasure home.

and under the glow
of sunrising rays
he ran his hands
around the contours of the pearl

and suddenly
and with noiseless ease
the pearl separated
into two thin hemispheres
which crumbled into a pile of
opalescent shards
and in their center
lay a manuscript

Unshellt Her

for the next several days
we may assume
he pored over
the manuscript
(it appeared well thumbed
said the anonymous publisher)

before packing up
what few necessities
he required
for a long sea voyage

after which he took off
in his boat
and was never seen again.

though his own manuscript

some years later

found upon a beach
safely corked
inside a large bottle.

Both books
printed privately
in extremely limited editions
profusely illuminated
after the pre-Raphaelite fashion
by a painter
who also
after completing his illuminations
took to the sea…

but I have not conveyed
the surprising delights
in the revelations
of this siren told tale
so pleasurably different
from the impression of sirens
created in those more widely
distributed and read works
upon whose words
the reputation of sirens
has been assembled

more’s the pity
of the rarity of this book
so lush and extravagant
in its details
so sense sated
and salty a song

would that I had
the space
to go on . . .

(Entry by Suzanne Nixon)