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Mercurial is a way you cannot stand

Kate Carsella

Under the oceans,

the chest I built

                - plum velvet i found so rich, (coveted my own future giving, even)

                - For You pressed in heartgold on top

                - the most beautiful token in the whole wide world

at the bottom.

Nestled in chillbone sand.

In your voice goes, your voice directed

me inside to duck and cover

where only you and I know where.

You had me stilled and indefinite

how you like.

And I helped you help myself in.

As usual, you had yours.

Assurances—the luxuries of

                - all the time you want,

                - grant-taking, (taking for granted, so to speak)

Mother Judge.

                (although you don’t like robes)

And in your luxury, you misplaced the key.

Best to forget

now it’s gone.

Your opinion.

Your ruling.

Your judgment.

The sentence: the maze

                an engulfing friend by proximity;

                the walls, your sentinels stern;

yourself on high and resigned in the watchtower.

So my face fell pallid,

placid, if you insist, and you do like a shadow.

Did you know: grasping

a lock free in the press of undersea

is a recipe for fumbling?

But I kept at it.

Even when my fingers forgot what they were up to.

Have you heard leagues roaring at you in the middle of the deep?

Have you heard the way they call that deep basin?

                - Midnight Zone

                - The Trenches

                - The Abyss

I prayed for a supremer mother to outstrip you in authority.

And illuminate all of you, bald as a scalped lion.

And you are.

The water broke open the chest.

The break sent me rising.

Stirrings by the moon, in her tidal authority,

pulled me up snuggled,

cuddled up swaddled,

the bends nothing to me at all.

You cursed her. Her digging light trawling,

whether open-faced or dark-new.

She can be no other way.

Her governance a rhythm on you.

Although, you’re afraid of dancing.

                I am not.

One odd thing:

you did order me not to fear

dance. You did bear me

and I came mutable. Winged-shoed.

Another odd thing:

Mercury is the only return visitor

allowed from the underworld.

Mercurial is a way you cannot stand.

Nor still.

My way is

                - gift of mediate,

                - regnant in transition

one you grasp at. Endlessly. Welcoming

while beyond your understanding.

Or so you’ve decided.

My way is my


A sprightly design.

Kate Carsella is a storyteller. Her writing has appeared in the Squawk Back, Catch, Cellar Door, and elsewhere. She is a Driftwood Press Adrift Chapbook Contest Top 10 finalist (2022) and a Glimmer Train Fiction Open Top 25 Finalist (2016).

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