Isaiah Duey

Dear Kuya,

Papa told me a story about sirenas last night. He said they wreaked havoc after setting foot on human land and should have just stayed on the sea. He said being with them is contagious, that I could get their fins and that’s bad because their very existence is a sin. Are fishes sinful, too? Is that why people eat them? I don’t think I’d fancy sirenas for dinner because I actually like the luster of their tail. I think they shine in the moonlight or when the moon pulls the tide, though I’m not sure. But I don’t tell Papa about this, Kuya. Because sometimes I’d hear him pray I don’t get fins. He said he can already see my skin having flecks of scales on them, and that I might have been infected so he’s started a treatment to get rid of them. He lets me take swigs of his beer, like a man he said. I’m guessing beer is some sort of medicine, but I’m not sure about this either, Kuya. I still like chocolate milk best. On days the sun accents my scales, Papa would scrape them off my face like prepping a tilapia to be fried on a skillet. My face, arms, and legs burn from all the scraping, Kuya. But Papa said we must do this to make sure I don’t leave for the sea, too.

Anyway, enough about me. What’s it like in the sea, Kuya? I hope you’re having fun.

Your brother,

Isaiah Duey loves mermaids and the stories they hold. Her work has appeared in Five Minutes, 101 Words, and Versification. She hails from a country in Southeast Asia where she lives with her calico cat named Anya.