The Difference

The difference between
the mermaids we dream
and the real mermen
and merwomen who live
near uncharted islands
fishing and raising families:

Their hair is not long
and silky, it is short
like a dolphin’s, invisible.

Their breasts are not round
like the fruits of a sailor’s desire,
they are flat and sleek
for knifing through water.

They are not half women,
half fish, they are mers
with webbed hands
that cannot pluck a lyre,
they sing in clicks and whistles.

They have no need
for legs to spread
or feet upon
the land to tread.

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About Ray Sharp

Father, poet, triathlete, local public health planner
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