Poem of the Fortnight
We just returned from a trip to San Diego with the almost six-year-old granddaughter. I need to get caught up with photos and travel stories of the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, Old Town, Coronado and La Jolla. In the meantime, in honor of our little mermaid, who frolicked in the 68 degree Pacific for hours without turning blue, here is a poem inspired by a comment I made to a fellow poet after an especially grueling day of swimming with that same mermaid in our condo pool.
This mermaid business is tougher than it looks.
It’s not all sitting around on a rock in a clamshell bra
looking like the bride of Neptune.
You try swimming with no feet,
gaining forward motion with a tail flip
and lots of arm strokes.
And how about switching from air-breathing
to staying under water for long minutes—
are mermaids mammals, able to hold their breath
like dolphins and whales,
or do they have secret gills under that flowing seaweed hair?
You might wonder about a sex life
with no visible apparatus
(except for those shell-covered boobies—
before Disney, it was topless all the time)
Do we make roe like salmon or give birth to little selkies?
And who might father these little beasts?
I’ll never tell.
Those young ones with their games among the sea lions
and otters, their dreams of growing legs and becoming princesses,
keep me on my toes
(in a manner of speaking).