A long time ago

July 5, 2013

I am a mermaid; I don’t need oxygen to breathe.
You taught me that when I cried in my bathroom
gasping for air but I didn’t get air.
When I stuck my head under cold water in my bathtub
and wetness washed away my tears
and I saw a green tail attach right under my navel
and my soft belly, so small next to this big tail
made me laugh and I laughed until I couldn’t breathe
but  I didn’t need to breathe.

Remember when we fucked in the graveyard?
I was fifteen and you told me I was pretty but you didn’t see my tail
and that night I swam to the bottom of the ocean
and I told my fish friends about your strange body
and we laughed at your expense.

I don’t know you anymore
but my friends say you’re not doing well.
You don’t have fins and you want oxygen but I can’t help you.
I think I would hate you if the ocean weren’t my mother
and if the bottom of the sea wasn’t so far away
from where you are.

I think you are a spider but I can’t be sure
because I can never read your face and sometimes
I thought you might be a red ant
but now I think for sure you are a spider.

You crawl up backs and nobody knows you’re there
until you poison us or scare us half to death
and you are hairy with eight legs.
You spin webs to trap your friends
and then you eat them.

At the bottom of the ocean
spiders don’t exist and my fish friends
dance with me to banjo music
and we think of your strange body
and laugh.

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