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  • Writer's pictureShawn McNulty-Kowal

Excerpt from "Ruminating on Eucalyptus, Lightshine, and Anna’s Hummingbird"

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

I can see it in your eyes. It sounds and looks beautiful, but it asserts honesty and begs for it all at once, which can possibly feel very intimate. During my years as an undergraduate in creative writing workshops, when I first seriously sat down to write a story, I valued beautiful-sounding sentences and beautifully written endings, over honesty. My professor once called it seducing.

Sail to me, sail to me

Let me enfold you.

Here I am, here I am

Waiting to hold you

I can see it in your eyes is also a Siren. The Siren’s song seduces only because the sailor likes the sound of it, only later might it be revealed that they too want to sing, that they too can sing. Battlefield champions arm themselves from giving into their will with beeswax in their ears, rowing past the pretty songs that tell tall tales of truth. The Siren’s songs might not be erotic or helpless, but instead rally cries or collective answers to a larger distress call coming from faraway, miles past their seaweed and shellfish-dotted sea rocks. After all, the gods that play tricks on mortals know less than Sirens. The Siren, an enrapt messenger. The Siren, empty-bellied and starved, with only patience to feed on. The Siren, soporific, bringing you to her bed so you can see one another vividly, but not completely. The Siren, a siren. Calling for your attention, pulling you under and cherishing you completely as you quietly whimper for the truth, not in fear, but rest. Additionally, the same order of descriptions, only the roles are reversed. Asserting herself, she asks you,

“Did you love me?,” the beginning of an end; a story.

For you sing,

Touch me not, touch me not

Come back tomorrow.

Oh my heart.

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