Chasing Mermaids
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Chasing Mermaids

A poem about childhood stories

17
Chasing Mermaids
delsolphotography.com

Mom tells the story

That's part family legend

Part running joke:

Her side of the family

Is part Huguenot French,

And there's this story

Of a French noblewoman

That was secretly a river spirit.

I do laps in the pool,

Feet and legs together,

Daydreaming how

A mermaid

Could be a distant relative.


I curl up against

The edge of the bathtub,

No longer caring

If my notebook gets wet.

The cradle of the water

Lets the words come easier,

The muse whispering

Between the faucet and the drain.

I think of the noblewoman,

Trapped on land;

Did she feel this restless

Away from the water,

Her lifeline?


I press my ear against the glass,

Spellbound in awe

With the chirps and chatters

Of the dolphins on the other side.

In their eyes

I perceive their empathy

Of isolation from the ocean—

Just as homesick as they are.

I pull away

More reluctantly than I should.


The ocean's heartbeat

Roars in my ears

As the sand

Embraces my feet,

Entreats me not to leave.

I pace along the shoreline,

Not unlike a circus lion.

Each glimmer of the sun

On each cresting wave

Is a possible sparkle of home.

If she were here,

Would she welcome me back?

I can reach out

Only so far,

My eyes can make out

Only so much


Mom tells the story again.

One would think

I would nod and smile by now,

The magic having faded with time.

But the dream is still there.

I do laps in the pool,

Feet and legs together,

Thinking of the river spirit,

And whether she'd be

Proud of me

For carrying on

What may be a family tradition.

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