Monday, August 13, 2012


Image by Francesca Woodman

From whence she came we do not know--
all torn and tattered from her plight
and shiv’ring hard against the night,
found on the beach in dawn’s first glow.

This sad-sweet girl could only speak
in guttural sounds amix with sighs.
Was she mute or traumatized;
wet seaweed clinging to her cheek?

The speculation was intense
awaiting her recovery,
but fragile life was not to be;
she’ll never utter her defense.

Perhaps a mermaid washed ashore
found grasping conch shell in her hand
near-naked body in the sand …
the tabloids just reported “whore.”

© Ginny Brannan August 2012

Image provided by Tess Kincaid, she provides the image, we provide the story!
Written for The Mag (Magpie Tales) #130
Loosely based on the victims of the Long Island Serial Killer, on whom I’ve recently seen a couple of television news documentaries.


  1. dang...grisly bit of background on this...and puts a bit of new light on the verse as well...i was thinking along the lines of SPLASH that mermaid movie back in the day, but...

  2. A dark and chilling made a nice contrast with the mermaid and the word "whore"...too bad for those ladies ~

  3. Skilled poesie - rhyme and meter. Good work.

  4. I echo Brian. At first I was thinking along the lines of Splash/Mermaid too. Had no idea it would be about these poor women. I try not to judge them and try to think 'There but for the grace of God... go I' Whatever their profession, they don't deserve that to happen to them. Maybe it's time it was legalised and then they'd have real protection. The killer needs to be caught asap.
    Your poem is so deep, powerful and poignant.

  5. Deliciously dark, Ginny. I've seen a few recent TV Doc's on Aileen Wuornos recently. I had heard of her but had no idea of the true depth of her story.

  6. Oh so chilling.... but I rather vote for mermaid!!!! Nicely crafted!

  7. I am so impressed by your connections to real life serial murders, image, and then ... my goodness what great rhythm and rhyme ... good on you! This one's a keeper!

  8. You had me fooled too; at firts i thought this was going to be a 'feral' child of the seas, like the 'wolf boy' and others. As the poem evolved an even darker meaning was drawn out. Very well done.

  9. Replies
    1. Oh what a wonderful thought Tess! I obviously was not thinking selkie when I wrote this, but love the Celtic undertone of this idea!! Thanks!

  10. Oh Ginny. You are amazing and this is my favorite response to this photo. I just love you ebb and flow here and you tell the story so well in so few words. Excellent!


Thank you for reading my poetry and sharing your thoughts.