There are mockups of mermaids every few
blocks in this town— plaster and paint
over wire, arms stretched fore and aft. All
in the same frozen pose, they look like
synchronized swimmers yanked out of the pool
before their final choreographed curtsy.
Pale, flat-chested, not the least bit
sinuous, each sports a different garb:
one’s in a sailor suit, another’s covered
in fake barnacles; and the one in the bay
of the Chinese pagoda close to where
we live has a painted-on cheongsam
of red and gold. Rooted under the half-
moon and the scattering of pixelated stars,
each looks across the pavements and parking
lots, out to the dark water— where all day,
restless waves come in and out with the tide.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.