The mermaids you know, the kind on earth, the kind that spend their lives in the ocean – they have fins and tails and can breathe saltwater as well as they can breathe air. Their inspiration is bilingual, in a sense.
These sirens, their bodies hybrids of human and fish (well, really porpoise – they’re mammals, after all – how else could they interbreed?) are thought to call ships toward rocky endings in order to find new blood – new partners – with which to mate.
It’s not true, of course. Just a tall tale told by sailors who saw lonely comrades jump overboard because they fell in love with a voluptuous figure, a beautiful face, a lustrous head of hair.
But my kind… my kind swims through a different sea. Instead of starfish, we have actual stars to play with… like that old earth song. “Would you like to swing on a star? Carry moonbeams home in a jar?”
And we do. Swing from one astral body to another. Play hide and seek inside nebulae. Have incredible games of follow-the-leader through asteroid fields. Surf on solar flares. Like humans, and saltwater mermaids, we are made of stardust, but we are a bit more of the star than the dust.
Also like our cousins on that big, blue and green marble, we love to dance.
Our cousins – sisters, really – dance on sand or stone, under constructed roofs, or under the moon. They dance with partners, sometimes just for fun, sometimes as a precursor to another, more private sort of dance.
But while we do merge with others of our kind from time to time, our dancing is pure art. Or pure physics. You decide.
I have pirouetted around Pluto and jitterbugged in and out of the rings of Jupiter. I’ve mamboed from earth’s moon to the mountains of Mars and bopped my way to Betelgeuse. Or at least, that’s the closest description I can come up with in human language.
Because when we astral mermaids – starmaids – dance, we make dark matter wish it were light. We grab onto the tails of passing comets and let the whiplash whirl us across the cosmos. We spiral around the Milky Way to the beat of the Universe’s heart.
And then we rest.
We are not the sirens you thought you knew. We don’t call astronauts to mate with us… though we do peek into passing ships, and flash space station viewports, and when we aren’t dancing, we do sing.
Our call isn’t easy to discern, but if you listen to the sounds your scientists refer to as “space noise,” – listen with all your imagination – you might – just might – be able to hear our song.
Image copyright: Hugh Pindur