mermaid

when she came back to the earth she had to
start in the desert so she could dry out
and keep
mermaid hunters at bay

now she’s cautious of the ocean

not ready to leave the land
not ready to go back home

so she seeks out places where she is surrounded by water
free from the tangles of
fishermen’s nets and trophy-seekers
wanting to catch a siren
not keep her

she seeks islands
where she is
freed from the effort to hold her body low in the water
to keep from floating up
to the flash of cameras trying to put her on display

safe on the desert floor
gravity as a blanket

free from the unpredictability of the dark

all
just
a trick of weight
a slight of land

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