There was once a law concerning mermaids. My friend thinks it a wondrous thing — that the British Empire was so thorough it had invented a law for everything. And in this law it was decreed: were any to be found in their usual spots, showing off like dolphins, sunbathing on rocks — they would no longer belong to themselves. And maybe this is the problem with empires: how they have forced us to live in a world lacking in mermaids — mermaids who understood that they simply were, and did not need permission to exist or to be beautiful. The law concerning mermaids only caused mermaids to pass a law concerning man: that they would never again cross our boundaries of sand; never again lift their torsos up from the surf; never again wave at sailors, salt dripping from their curls; would never again enter our dry and stifling world.
~ Kei Miller
Kei Miller was born in Jamaica. His latest publications are ‘The Cartographer tries to map a way to Zion’ (Carcanet 2014) and ‘Writing down the vision: essays and visions’ (Peepal Tree Press 2013), which won the Bocas Literary Prize for non- fiction in 2014. He currently teaches Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow.