mermaid By Robin Gow


i spent all night binding fish until
they lay still in the water like a photograph.
held my breath for nineteen years always waiting
to wake up in the river. surface is a place
where you finally inhale or else bury yourself.
swimming, the sun is a bear’s maw. i roast a rainbow & devour
as if it were the day’s catch; this is what a promise is good for.
singing comes from all my drains so i plug them with socks.
it’s august so the grass begins to tell rumors all night.
“the poet is really a girl inside a boy inside a girl.”
in response, i cut my tongue out & release it into the creek.
cross my legs to picture the fin but it doesn’t come.

By Robin Gow


Robin Gow is a trans poet and young adult author from rural Pennsylvania. They are the author of several poetry books, an essay collection, and a YA novel in verse, A Million Quiet Revolutions (FSG Books for Young Readers, 2022). Gow’s poetry has recently been published in POETRY, Southampton Review, and Yemassee.

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