The Liars

She was an ugly capture ,
and was smelling quite ‘off’ –
‘landed in nets near Batavia,
and worth five thousand dollars’
– traded for the last time
in the city of London.
But that wasn’t her real story,
rather the laughed result
of a fishmonger’s joke
down in Billingsgate:
Charlie stitched half a salmon
to the rotting monkey
which had been found
on Lower Thames Street,
George Cruickshank etched,
and embellished, the lie
committing the mermaid
to a much longer life.

the liars

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