Em lives in the community of Mermaid’s Hands, just off the coast from Sandy Neck.
“All of us have seablood, even if it’s not from creatures with gills or shells,” writes Em. “We’re either born with it or it’s sung into us. The Seafather gave it to the Choctaw and Biloxi and Pensacola people who hid out in the salt marshes, so no white folks could find them, and to runaways and other slippery folk who were happier on the sea than the land--like Vaillant, who swam from Haiti to Cuba to here, to get away from slavery. Gran said that when he found out there was slavery here, too, he decided to give up on dry land altogether and pledged allegiance to the sea.”
Em loves Mermaid’s Hands, but like her restless (and now incarcerated) brother Jiminy, she has her eyes on the horizon.
Images: header image and shell: author's photos; floating house: detail from a photo by Khiem Tran (original here)
Index photo by Tim Mulligan