The Straightforward Mermaid
By Matthea Harvey
The straightforward mermaid starts every sentence with "Look..." This comes from being raised in a sea full of hooks. She wants to get points 1, 2, and 3 across, doesn't want to disappear like a river into the ocean. When she's feeling despairing, she goes to eddies at the mouth of the river and tries to comb the water apart with her fingers. The straightforward mermaid has already said to five sailors, "Look, I don't think this is going to work," before sinking like a sullen stone. She's supposed to teach Rock Impersonation to the younger mermaids, but every beach field trip devolves into them trying to find shells to match their tail scales. They really love braiding. "Look," says the straightforward mermaid. "Your high ponytails make you look like fountains, not rocks." Sometimes she feels like a third gender -- preferring primary colors to pastels, the radio to singing. At least she's all mermaid: never gets tired of swimming, hates the thought of socks.
Another from this week's New Yorker. Harvey's 2007 book is Modern Life, which won a Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award.
It was a pretty quiet Tuesday, revolving mostly around laundry and the baby bird, who flew! We went over to visit Rose and return her birdie shirts and towels, which I had offered to wash and dry for her since she doesn't have a washing machine. The bird was standing on his cage in the garden, then hopping around on the ground, and at one point he took off and flew right over the fence into the neighbor's yard! Rose and Adam raced around to retrieve him; he was confused and a bit dirty from landing on the ground, but otherwise none the worse for wear. Our concern now is that he may fly out of our reach before he can feed himself, since he still barely pecks at berries and water and insists on being fed through an eyedropper as often as he's allowed, so the goal is to get him accustomed to eating solid food and using the bird bath before he takes off.
It has been a week now since Adam spotted the baby bird at the side of the road.
In these photos from Monday, you can see that his fuzzy baby feathers are turning into adult flight feathers.
He is not, however, enthusiastic about keeping them clean...
...even though getting fed through a dropper tends to be a messy proposition.
See how he has dried formula on his neck, even though he's starting to look like an adult catbird?
He still likes to be held by Adam and Rose, though he prefers perching on fingers to being cupped in a palm.
He now has blackberries mixed in with his vitamins, worms, etc.
And he sleeps comfortably in the cage and peeps at his own reflection in the mirror.
In the afternoon, I folded laundry while watching L.A. Confidential, which a comment from someone made me feel like seeing again. It's still completely not my type of film and also completely excellent. Adam went to the pool, then to a friend's house where they apparently made chocolate-covered popcorn with a third friend (as well as a mess). Daniel did some research on his summer project, then went to Kay's house after dinner to work with her husband on the power supply. The rest of us bird-sat while Rose was out teaching and watched Warehouse 13, which wasn't very memorable except for Tia Carrere, whom I adored on Relic Hunter (and I like that her character Katie and Myka got along instead of competing for Pete's attention).