Mermaids

by Renwick Berchild

Men only love us
when they need us, women dip
their babies in, Nereids seeking
to scale their children in armor;
we, ugly selkies, melusines, mer
maids and lads who swim in
black waters, we cannot breathe
the light, merely claw and scrape
at the tops of waves, legs
greeting us with nets and offerings –
damn them. We dive down to
inevitably float belly up, our dreams
cut by kings and queens draining
the sea so to drink our meat.
Our brains carved from our
skulls, carcusses thrown we
plummet back, hollow, shadows
raked, eyes peeled grapes and
trapped in bowls..

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