Part of our Aurealis Month, celebrating the Australian Aurealis Awards.
A Shot of Salt Water
by Lisa L. Hannett
Accordions unpleated welcoming songs the day the mermaids returned.
The first notes droned joyful at dawn, played by young men with wool collars unrolled against the wind. Mattress-clouds bulged above land and water, miles of damp cotton dulling the fishermen’s music. As the sky blanched, fiddlers sawed harmonies, horsehairs screeching on weather-warped bows. Bodhráns were rescued from blanket boxes and cupboards, clatter-spoons from the backs of junk drawers. Soon drummers thumb-pounded down autumn-gold slopes from the village. Beats jigged and reeled past the wharves, along the coast, then splashed through froth seething to shore.