Mermaids

by krstaten

Some women write poems about the moment
when they’re about to drown–the taste
of salt, the final euphoria–and then,
the moment the fins sprout from skin,
painful, the scales hatching like a disease,
gills replacing the bruises on their necks–
some women write poems about the moment
drowning turns into painful survival
and, however forcibly, they grow
the very kind of power they need
to survive the ocean–not just to survive
but to fall in love with the taste of salt–
But here I am, water filling lungs
I thought I would have surrendered by now,
skin remaining stupidly smooth,
legs still uselessly refusing to fuse
into a tail or anything resembling strength.

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