Chris Kerr

Inland Sea Bride 


What if your anima isn’t an animé character,

Westerner, high pitched voice vowel-shifted 

to your soul’s shitty 16th century bowel, 

but unfemale entrails bad for augury

magic-lanterning a favourite kanji?


Write ningyo, or mermaid, in squid ink, 

without drawing cephalopods at any fractal level
(e.g. stroke while swimming).

White air-conditioned roar

sucks kelpies hoarse. 


Memory autoblots: tai chi poses

transform like autobots without breaking bones

til forehead smiles to steering wheel 

and in Saudi Arabia, women drive.


The mermaid’s hair’s fiberoptic
beams down distant macaroni.
Her ringlets reflect your phone sex
in inner cheesy glaze
while she does her nails.

Cam girl from the waist up
doesn’t mean she wades.

Tell her the old tale
your pillow won’t understand
in the back of a private ambulance
half in a river
the doors spread
siren still going.

Chris Kerr lives in Edinburgh. His poems have appeared in or are forthcoming in Ambit, Blackbox ManifoldHVTN, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Oxford Poetry, The Literateur and Under the Radar. He was shortlisted for the Jane Martin Poetry Prize in 2017 and is the co-author of ./code --poetry.