WILD First Place: Mermaids of Morrison Springs by Jennifer Grant
Mangroves by Lorrie B. Turner
Inspired by “Mangroves” by Lorrie B. Turner


A disgraceful (ekphrastic) ghazal

There is a wilderness within a wilderness…

I saw the *[desert] and remembered home.
—Ghalib * [springs]

I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.
― T.S. Eliot
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock


Gotta love us redneck girls. We ain’t afraid of searing shade nor skin
Swarming the springs, lips painted frosty pink wearing mermaid fins.
Fresh-water sirens, we frolic to flute music under mournful shrouds,
clouds of dark hair, almond eyes, disguised crackers baring jade fins.
Our existence, intimates linked to this glass, flaking emeralds that cast
an age-old, southern song. Lungs, voices echoing: Wade-in fins.
A shock to the body, this crisp seventy-two (frigid on our hoo-haas, too).
Bodacious bobbers between paddleboards, we swerve to evade fins.
Gotta love us small town gals gathered ‘round Cypress knees in summer,
aquanauts all. Spellbound children, we share daring, handmade fins.
Find your fearlessness, Jenn-fur Lynn— get in and swim. Kick blue painted
toes, forget mid-life. Embrace skinny-dipping. Persuade yourself: Grow fins!



Jennifer Grant’s poem, “Mermaids of Morrison Springs,” sprang from a combination of inspiration from artist Lorrie B. Turner and poet Patricia Smith. A 15-year newspaper journalist with a degree from the University of Florida, Jennifer now creates her own literary curiosities in Gainesville, FL. Her first collection, Good Form, is slated for publication in June with Negative Capability Press. jennifergrantwrites.com