I wish I could make myself into a mermaid.
Elusive, fictitious, long flowing hair- the works.
I would swim and watch the ships in battle,
watch to see which men are still alive when they
hit the surface of the water.
And then I would swoop in and scoop them up,
wounded and unconscious,
sailors or soldiers or slaves, I wouldn’t care.
I would take them away under the water
and tend to their wounds.
And I would sing to them too.
Mermaids and men don’t speak the same tongue,
but music travels easily through water.
I would tell them without words that it was all a dream
and that everything is going to be okay
(whether or not it was true).
The ones that wouldn’t make it, I’d take down into the blue.
The rest I left beside the sea, and hoped to leave a song inside their heads
so they would know that it was me.
Because, we mermaids are the stuff of dreams
and in their dreams I return to them.
And in our dreams we can be anything
where a pair of legs, like wings, could sprout
have our father part the sea, just so we can walk out!
(It’s funny to dream of being a thing that dreams of being me)
But a mermaid’s heart is a ship inside a bottle.
The want to get out is somewhat inevitable. And the men,
they wake up and they tell themselves that it was just a dream
and rarely go down to the sea to walk along the shore to remember.
The mermaids are out there.
But they don’t seem to see.
And the sunset sends them in again.
And our song is swallowed up by the vastness
of the ocean and its long din.
So we go back in to play with dolphins and wait