When he keeps trying to steer my chin
towards his lighthouse face
despite my whispered insistence that my lips are not lost ships
He sees fit to flash that charming smile and rescue me still.
He is a sailor he says
and knows these seas well
I remind him that I am a mermaid
and know them deeper.
It's just a kiss, darlin'
and my no slips under my tongue polite as pearls.
It's just another inch of your scales onto land
When I do not boat floor thrash against him
My gasping is taken for excited consent
My skin drying out under his touch for playing hard to get
Mermaids are taught early to kneel on ocean floors
praying for a sailor to win us from the water
and carry us home like a carnival goldfish
to never be frigid
to never be ungrateful for the kindness of a man
who has not trapped us
or tangled us up in nets
who did not even harpoon our lovely flesh.
I swam to his shore curious
O, how I smiled right up and even through this crime
a gentle rocking crime I did not recognize
until I woke up gutted
with a mistrust for sailors
my backbone pulled through my skin.
Rachel Wiley is a native of Columbus, OH where she is on staff at Writing Wrongs Poetry Slam. She was the 4th Place Finalist in the 2011 Women of the World Poetry Slam and,a member of the Writing Wrongs NPS team which took 4th place in the 2011 National Poetry Slam. She was a finalist in the 2012 Ontario Individual World Poetry Slam. Five of Rachel's poems were published in the Fall 2012 Issue of FRiGG, an online literary magazine. Her work was also published in the inaugural issue of The Canary, a literary magazine out of Australia.