The Drowning Bones

By A. R. Frederiksen in Issue Eleven, October 2023

I began to grow my gills one week after my first menstruation, right on time.

My father was horrified, but my mother flexed her own gills nestled behind her curtain of curls so like my own, and he went as silent as the nighttime sea.

“Par for the course,” she told him, not bothering to hide it from me like she never bothered to hide anything from me. “This is a child of mine. You knew that when you stepped into my fjord. When you bathed in my song long ago. You’ve always known.”

My father mumbled something unintelligible into his beard and headed into his workshop to bang his tools around loudly enough for my heart to twist inside my chest.