The Mermaid

No, I wasn’t surprised
when I hauled her in
gleaming rose and emerald,
opalescent in the net.

She smiled at me and that I see now
is why I would risk everything
for the mermaid.

For weeks I’d been trying to catch
one or more of her kind
out there with the flap of the sails,
the slap of the prow on the waves.
I knew the weather was right –
there are some things experience tells –
you can’t have been fishing so long
without an inkling of how to catch
a deck full of scales. The miracle of it.
Her smile and her elegant tail
hitting the deck in a rhythm
as strong as a poem.

Her hair wasn’t seaweed at all
though it did have a green bow
tying a clump behind one of her ears.
On a breast an oyster had settled
a natural beautiful brooch
which I wouldn’t have dreamed of disturbing.

Why did I want the mermaid so badly
giving up having a car, cleaners, insurance
and the rest of the trappings.
I wanted her
as a horse wants to run.

To some, I know, she’s a myth
they’ve never seen her
and what they don’t see they don’t believe
yet like radio, the mermaid exists
sleekly ravishing, gasping and smiling
knowing that I’d write this
and then let her go
watching her swim away
in her own muse the water.




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