some childhood (1)Then

I wanted to be a mermaid. But first, I needed the tits and the hair. Hair long enough that it fell in naked curves down my naked chest while I lounged on a rock, luring sailors with my song.


I have tits and hair down to my ass.

You’re probably expecting me to end this with something depressing like, “Yet I never lounge on rocks, luring sailors with my song. In fact, I never even sing in the shower.”

But you’d be wrong. Dead wrong. I must have become a mermaid: look at my wrinkly skin. What could have caused me to wrinkle, if not hours spent submerged, frolicking in the sea?




Beth Ann Fennelly has published four-and-a-half books, the half being her most recent, The Tilted World, a novel released by HarperCollins that she coauthored with her husband, Tom Franklin. She directs the MFA Program at the University of Mississippi, where she was recently named teacher of the year.


Photo by Marcia Krause Bilyk