I fell off a boat and my body turned to water.
I felt heavy and light and all of the mermaids
I always knew were there put their silver-skinned arms around me,
and I didn’t drown.
Instead they gave me time to think, an hour or so or a thousand words.
So I thought about my mother and the plants she cared for like children when I left
and the soup ladles hanging above the stove and I thought about
bricks and sugar and cold,
and I thought maybe I could stay here and never say good-bye
like my father who said good-bye to his first daughter too late.
The mermaids listened with their eyes like my mother’s rainbow lullaby.
I wanted them to ask me to stay.
I wanted to tell them I wasn’t afraid, but I knew they would know I was lying.
And I decided then in between the stillness and hug of the water,
hard and gentle like the pulling of a weed,
that I wouldn’t be afraid, and I truly believed I was good.