June 25, 2018
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Captain Snowman’s Great-Granddaughter Buys a Mermaid for Her Bird Bath

By Patricia Smith Ranzoni, Special to the BDN

Because he commanded her and out of Bucksport aboard the schooner
N.E. Symonds to Cayenne, French Guiana, in the Caribbean trade.

Because family both sides came by sea and live from it to this day.

Because her father was United States Navy on the Atlantic, Pacific,
Mediterranean, China, and Philippine Seas aboard the USS Uhlmann
for the signing in Tokyo Bay.

Because of his King Neptune initiation certificate for crossing the Equator
and his anchor and heart tattoos she and his other children begged to see.

Because the Portuguese-Maine woman, of New Bedford’s “dead whale
or a stove boat” possibility, had it for sale in her Bar Harbor shop.

Because she heard its cast iron siren song across the waves of spruced
and gussied trove, and longed to fetch it home to their daisy-frothed main.

Because she has the perfect crow’s nest propped atop coastal stone,
a galley-size tidal bowl reflecting celestial mariner maps.

Because as she balances, all 12 inches of herself, on her vessel’s gunnel
facing East, her head resting back into the net her fingers knit behind her,
her breasts buoyant under her floating hair, she catches dawn and dew
with the scales of her glistening body fishtailing over the whitecap peonies
splashing above the kelp mulch, at peace, it appears, home in rain.

Because her swarthy mate with an Ellis Island chantey of his own deserves
a beneficent mermaid swimming through his work, his land-bound hands
missing the olive air salted by the Ligurian, Tyrrhenian and Adriatic,
still imagining the SS LaGascogne oceaning Pasquali and Rosalinda
all this way, this time. A cellular current she’ll ride jubilantly with him.

Patricia Ranzoni
lives in Bucksport. Her most recent collection of poetry is “Hibernaculum,” available through OneWaterPress@aol.com.

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