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Mermaid’s Tears

by A.E. Schulz

Sea glass is also known as beach glass, mermaid's tears, marine gems, and lucky tears. Made by humans, it is refined by nature.


Sometimes, soft groans and women’s voices

moaning baby, more, baby, harder, ride me,

baby would wake me up. I knew that soon

he would abandon them, those streaming mirages,

come into the bedroom, whisper, hey, and breathe

beery breath on me. I knew that if I refused him,

something, maybe me, was going to get broken.


I kept my eyes closed, mimicked the moans

that had woken me, and thought about the walk

I would take on the beach in the morning.

Some days I would come home with a piece

of sea glass—warm root-beer brown, frosted

Kelly green, or the lacy, pockmarked, pale

almost-blue of clear. Rarely, almost never,

you can spot a glint of cobalt among the pebbles,

bits of shells, and seaweed—with every scrap,

I tried to identify what it had been before

it shattered; not all pieces are beer bottle

fragments, but once were glasses, windows,

windshields, ink bottles, fruit jars—

sand transformed once by heat,

again by breakage, only to end up

a beautiful piece of trash.


While I waited for him to finish,

my thoughts were made of clouded glass—

after a storm is the best time to search.