Stella Maris

The merwoman swam
to a stand of bull kelp.
The best-branching trunk she decorated
with glowing jellyfish and glass buoys
filled with a suspension of phosphorescent plankton.
Carefully she hung icicles of miter shells,
and augers for good luck.
On the top that waved toward watery sunlight,
she affixed a sea star.
Feeling charitable then,
she gave a sand dollar to a sea urchin.
Peace underwater,
good will toward merwomen!

About Jan Steckel

Award-winning author Jan Steckel is a retired pediatrician and a bisexual and disability rights activist. Her first full-length poetry book, The Horizontal Poet (Zeitgeist Press, 2011) won a 2012 Lambda Literary Award. Her Mixing Tracks (Gertrude Press, 2009) won the Gertrude Press Fiction Chapbook Award. Her chapbook The Underwater Hospital (Zeitgeist Press, 2006) won a Rainbow Award for Lesbian and Bisexual Poetry. Her writing has been widely published and has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Oakland, California with her husband Hew Wolff. Find her books on Amazon, at, and in selected independent bookstores.

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