The painting, Ondina, is by Brazilian artist Walmor Correa, who creates cryptozoological medical portraits of mermaids, cyclopses, anteater men, and other fictional animal hybrids.
translated by Paul Muldoon
She awoketo find her fishtailclean gonebut in the bed with herwere two long, cold thingammies.You'd have thought they were tangles of kelpor collops of ham.
"They're no doubttaking the piss,it being New Year's Eve.Half the staff leglesswith drinkand the other halfplaying pranks.Still, this is taking ita bit far."And with that she hurledthe two thingammies out of the room.
But here's the thingshe still doesn't get—why she tumbled out after themarse-over-tip...How she was connectedto those two thingammiesand how they were connectedto her.
It was the sister who gave her the winkand let her know what was what."You have one leg attached to you thereand another one underneath that.One leg, two legs...A-one and a-two...Now you have to learnwhat they can do."
In the long monthsthat followed,I wonder if her heart fellthe way her arches fell,her instep arches.