Mermaids Are Waiting For You!
It sat there on the strand that day,
a day that viewed strange meetings.
He picked it up from where it lay
on grit and pebbles, wet from spray,
bruised by the breakers’ beatings.
He held it up against an ear,
an ear drenched by the thunder
of muted oceans, far and near —
a pink-lipped conch, a souvenir
he thought, until from under
its briny, salmon-colored sound,
a sound unlike the ocean:
a voice that told him it was bound
to whale and seal, and never drowned,
except in strong emotion.
“Let’s meet beyond the reef,” it purred,
those purring tones erotic
as Amphitrite’s, every word
exotic as a coral-bird,
each sea-lynx growl hypnotic.
The bathers, boats, the heavens’ eye
(an eye half-closed and Titian),
rendering the western sky
so roseate, its hues would vie
with a Turner exhibition,
to him were distant as the flight,
the flight of a shearwater.
“I am a mermaid of the night,
whose tail is fashioned to excite.
I frisk with eel and otter.”
Waves drummed, but he just heard that arch,
that arch, coquettish timbre.
He thought he heard the wedding march
by Mendelssohn. No hint of starch
in that coy voice. “I’m Amber.”
While plovers piped and seagulls squawked —
squawked like the world’s noisemakers —
and other seabirds plunged or flocked,
he chucked that ornate shell and walked
straight into the breakers.
Out past the reef he met his fate,
a fate with flowing tresses.
The sea-beast didn’t hesitate
to wrap her tail around her date
and drown him in caresses.
(Originally appeared in Scarlet Literary Magazine)