The Little Mermaid Goes To Work | Marta Ferguson

The Little Mermaid Goes To Work

by Marta Ferguson


Red wig heavy around her face, she signs

the books and videos the chubby hands

hold out to her across the gold chain fence.

Her shift will end at six. And then the next

girl will put up with it. She’ll smile so wide,

her lipstick will crack, flake off and fall like

so many drops of Sleeping Beauty’s blood,

come back to stain the spindle red again,

so she can rest, away from teeming hordes

of five-year-olds who want to know if she

has legs. She’ll dream, anyway, of such peace,

as cameras point, click and catch her shine,

tear bright, the new mascara stinging fine

red lines right through the oceans of her eyes.


Marta Ferguson is the co-editor of Drawn to Marvel: Poems from the Comic Books (Minor Arcana Press, 2014), the editor of the Columbia Art League’s Interpretations anthology series, and the author of Mustang Sally Pays Her Debt to Wilson Pickett (Main Street Rag, 2005). Her poetry has appeared in dozens of literary magazines, including The Cortland Review, Poet Lore, Spillway, Rattle, and Prairie Schooner. A former poetry editor for The Missouri Review, Marta has been the sole proprietor of Wordhound Writing& Editing Services, LLC for 15 years. Her officemate is a chinchilla named Grayson (Yes, after Dick Grayson, Batman’s original Robin). In her spare time, Marta enjoys wickedly complicated board games like Five Tribes, Pandemic, and Carcassonne.