There are Old Mermaid Sanctuaries and Old Mermaid Tea Shells everywhere. This photograph is of one in Washington. Below is a scene from the novel I just completed, The Old Mermaid Sanctuary. This time the sanctuary is in a white tent on the Mexican border. I only give you a snippet here, since I don't want to give away too much about the second novel.

It began getting colder. Myla passed around blankets and wrapped herself in one. People took turns standing by the stove. Josef and Myla continued to feed people who came in after the Border Patrol dropped them off. A teenage girl began to cry quietly. “I want to go home,” she said to the woman with her.

“The Grupo Beta bus will be here soon,” Josef said. “They will take everyone to a warm shelter.”

They ran out of coffee. Myla suggested they heat up water.

“We have no tea or coffee,” Josef said.

“We have Old Mermaid tea,” Myla said.

They poured water into a tall pot and turned up the heat. When the water was hot, Myla filled a paper cup with it and handed the first one to Katarina.

“This is Hot Like a Volcano Tea,” she said.

“Gracias,” Katarina said.

The next one she gave to Alicia. “This is Precious Sunlight Tea.”

When she handed a cup to Theresa, she said, “This is Warm As A Summer Day Tea.”

To Felipe, she said, “This is Strong As a Lion Tea.”

And so it went.

—from Old Mermaid Sanctuary

Photograph by Joanna Powell Colbert. Thanks, Joanna!

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