Photo by Jeremy Ricketts on Unsplash
I never imagined being a mermaid
Other girls talked of curly hair,
seashell bras; all I saw were scales —
Water felt like a second skin to me.
I could glide and swoop, avoid
imagined obstacles at speed.
Soar out of the water
an arc — at least that's what I felt like,
even if my body didn't quite make that C.
Dolphin tail propelling me,
water pushed, air breathing,
sleek and playful —
not a mermaid stuck between worlds.
I've watched her swim a dozen times.
Each time something different. Sluggish
movement, lazy stroke, focused form, but
today, a line of fire crackers lit at once.
She vaulted into that water, barely
a splash. Far lane, dolphin kick
and arcing body tumbling,
a wake of whitewater.
She drops nearly 5 seconds,
later telling me she missed her heat,
she cried, but when tears dried
she slipped into emptiness and flew.
My head has waves —
cascading indigo — spilling over
banks, washing away plastics
and leftovers downstream.
Sometimes the undulation swallows
ideas until they resurface
days, weeks, later inside a poem.
Currents carry me
down rapids, into an abyss
I can't see beyond.