A picture I drew long ago and a poem that went with it. For some reason wanted to share them tonight.
The Mermaid Lucia
We are in Italy, two priests stand behind us.
On the bridge, the farmer and his sons
pull the yoke of an ox unwilling to cross over water.
A dog barks somewhere in the distance.
Painters captured us with wavy lines
that stream from brushes.
They formed me leaning against you.
I’ve stretched my legs from beneath my dress
so that the sun can warm them.
You said nothing and handed me a pink petal.
The petal became a ruby,
and you read to me from The Inferno.
I didn’t understand Italian, but I wanted to.
That night we stood naked beneath the moon
and called to the gods. The moon floated
because the oceans had filled up.
I wondered if I would dissolve like a pane of sugar glass,
or if my name had become Lucia. There was silver in the trees.
This was the moment I became the mermaid.
Moon rays flicked off me like scales from fins.
The bridge is still there, and if we ever
saw it again, it would snag us, pull us to the past.
Remember how the dog ran up to us? And the lowing of the ox?
How the priests murmured about something political?
There was a song bird whose name I wanted to know.
Lucia became a witch and burned sage
in abalone shells. Rocks were particularly potent.
She sought dakinis in clouds and claimed
the color indigo, Both of her lives are here on canvas.
By day Lucia’s fins are feet split apart. She conjured them
to walk with ease. At night she swims in the sea,
her legs meld into a tail flicking at the sound of dreams.