Back to Issue Forty-One

Alternative Sunday Service



Five women wading nude
into the lagoon at Bethune Beach.
Mary’s hair

curled long enough
to cover her breasts and stomach,
and she swam to loan it,

to help each of us in turn
become a brief mermaid.
Not sand underfoot,

but broken oyster shells,
alternating coarseness and iridescence.
Insects in a cloud, kicked up by dusk.

Miracle needn’t mean divine
or even godlike.
I have been thinking of

this one small memory for a long time
because it wasn’t just a human wading.
The mangroves, too,

and the raccoons paddling between islands
like unromantic cherubs.
Five women wading. Our simple,

mirroring bodies the least surprising
things around. So much to see
we barely knew where to look.


Megan J. Arlett was born in the UK, grew up in Spain, and now lives in Texas. The recipient of two Academy of American Poets Prizes, her work has appeared in Best New Poets 2019, Best New British and Irish Poets, The Kenyon Review, Ninth Letter, Passages North, Prairie Schooner, and Third Coast.

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