The Mermaid, Singing

by Jessica Rae Bergamino[easy-media med=”7972″ mark=”gallery-6hkwJa”]
Arriving in the City, the Mermaid Changes Her Mind

If all things begin in love and all things end in love
then this must be somewhere in between.

At the water’s edge you watch cargo slip past
the borders you make one another,

always wondering what is inside.
A train hums beneath the bay and home trembles above.

The Mermaid’s Ground

No woman is an island.
No fish is a bird. No one flecks an eye in care.

I want to be an island.
I want to be a bird.

For years the ocean touched me, longing.

I am not an island.
I am neither fish nor bird.

My body is a question forming in foam.


The Mermaid Responds to Scientists from the Academy

Distance is only what you call it, you see.

There was a long time when I wanted you
to understand me the way
I understand myself, the way
the real bends in a mirror of time.

Why would you want to be any one thing?
Your dismantling will leave you empty.

I thought if I could show you my body
you might feel yourself coming and going
and unravel from belief.

You can’t put a story in a museum, only in books.

The Mermaid Learns the Difference between Yes & No

You poor body, never knowing how you want.
How sad it must be to know your own limits.

When the ocean wraps herself around me
We don’t know where I end and she begins.

If you try to take me from her you’ll unhinge
the distance from sea to shore.

The Mermaid Responds to Poetry

I wasn’t a myth until you said I was.
You heard me singing and forfeited my song.

The promise of importance.
The promise of immortality.

Your language is a silver cage.
If the work of breath is to give shape

then let us praise our bodies.

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