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-         John Eppel (South Africa)


He fell into the tepid soup,

it smelled of scales and snails and tails;

a current formed a hula hoop

and spun him down past winking drails,


past farting barbel, drifting wood,

past eels and heels and rusted keels,

past signs of evil and of good,

of equity and dirty deals.


There, riding on a deep tureen

wadded with mud and blood and cud

its floating hair an algae green,

its fingernails engrained with crud,


a mermaid  of the southern wild.

Calling and bawling and squalling,

it mouthed, ’’I know you, you’re the child

who drowned: I watched you falling.’’