Tuesday, May 29, 2012

His Dragon World

The real secret of the merfolk
Has nothing to do with the deep.
Merfolk don't live underwater,
Only the selkies can do that.

The real secret of the merfolk
Is that they never shed those tails.
They're almost helpless, once ashore,
But life without air would kill them.

They rarely hazard the ocean,
Preferring remote mountain lakes.
Mostly they swim in the shallows
And haul out on secluded rocks.

You may have talked to one for hours
One summer swimming in a lake,
And wondered why, when you went in,
Your new friend swam away from you.

I recognized a merman once,
By the way he swayed beside me,
Lower torso underwater,
Neither quite floating nor standing.

It was early on a clear day
In spring, no one else at the lake.
To be polite, I looked away 
From his odd shape as we conversed.

To be polite, he pretended
Not to feel my feigned disinterest.
I asked him about the water,
If he liked it even this cold.

He shivered a little, then stared
Out to the middle of the lake,
Where cloud shadows darkened the waves.
"I would love to get under it,

And be at peace in the gold jails
Bars of sunlight made around me.
Here, now, I feel like I am it,
Although to be it would kill me."

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