an ancient salmon now larger than a horse

so long has it been at rest

sleeping under an eddy

it will still be dreaming long after we have gone

it wakes at the end of all times

having spent its whole existence asleep


we were all fish once

and that was the story passed down to us


when we crawled out onto land

and the great beasts still walked the tree line

we changed the story and found her in a sea cave


and when we grew out hair instead of feathers

our tongues becoming soft and pink

we changed the story again and she hibernated to outlast the ice


you can still hear the echoes today

her scales becoming Brunhilda’s armor

the eddy, now the vines protecting Briar Rose while she sleeps

the water, a glass coffin for a dark-haired girl

her lips as red as blood and skin as white as snow


it is why we were told Aurora’s life began

when her fairy tale ended

how the circle closes

when Alinda of the Loch becomes the dreamer

guarded by a water dragon

and that Ophelia upsets us so

her final act coming much too early

and we do not always leave the water


the only truth is that the story must be told again

and in the telling, lose something of itself

the listeners worrying at the threads

remembering only fragments

each storyteller projecting

a part of themselves into the narrative

tying up the loose ends

with their own hair, bits of ribbon, and yarn


and if we find ourselves

standing at the edge of the pool

the salmon within our reach

a need to know, to see how it all ends, balanced

against the chance to see another sunset

to fall in love

to hear another story