what the Sirens said

“they told me,” she told me, “it’s never mattered a whit which song they sang. they could parody a polka and still instill all pirates with that pang. their promise isn’t parceled out in poetry or rhyme; the tempo is what tenders their temptation. it’s what they do with time that sends the sailors overboard in dreaming droves.”

i said, “then it must be eternity, the treasure in their troves.”

“not even close,” she corrected. “expressions of the timeless on this plane[t] come out stilled. a shipman wouldn’t leave his ship unless he thought some deeper desire would be fulfilled than the starvation of star-followers for silence. not such slake, not even slowness for its own sake, could seduce a salt-wind-swallower without violence.”

“some deeper desire,” i echoed, unsure what that could be.

“what more soul-submerging love have seamen than the sea? it’s that rhythm that ropes them in, i’d reckon. the chance to see the continents as islands, counting centuries as seconds.”

“they told you this in speaking?” i asked. her laugher rang.

“darling, don’t be daft.” she sang:

all we say we see, ever in, in, in
drawing up our antidote to drought
this message from our meadow will move beneath your skin
until you follow through, our heart[ie]s, out, out, out

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