Waiting for the Mermaid
My dad talks
in hammers of fire
or sits in scowls of raw remembrance
in the car we ride in.
Smiles donâ€™t visit his face often
except at the beach when the ocean
bids our car to join it.
The Atlantic calms him with sharks and eels
heâ€™d catch with fish line
wrapped around cardboard
and a hook tossed onto the waves of his childhood.
Sometimes in my thirteenth year,
weâ€™d watch seawater slosh on sand
as the vision of whitecaps
wooshes across his mind.
He never revealed the secret
of why Mom ran away one day
at the supermarket.
Did she fly off in a shopping cart
across the parking lot
with cheese danish and bagels?
Did her tears become an ocean
for her to swim away on
or did she join a pirate ship
to play with parrots that sang arias.
Perhaps she became a mermaid
and could swim back to us
who waited at the ocean
watching waves collapse
as we choked on tears.
There is a kind of love
that can slam you into a brick wall
and thereâ€™s no escaping the heat
that permeates the loins.
It rises up like orange lava anticipating
the touch of creation.
It overtakes your center
and becomes like an infusion
of crack cocaine,
throwing you into a dream state
that you refuse to wake up from
even when it bruises the heart,
even when it cuts the spirit,
even when you know it will kill you.
Truth becomes your enemy.
You walk as blind as ice
and you donâ€™t see the cliff in front of you
until you step over the edge.
My self was lost in forests of tears.
Dew drop diamonds hung from trees
like earrings on a rich widow
as sunlight glinted into my eyes
obscuring all truth.
I lived in a vision of my creation
and bent tree limbs to my liking
to form a house of illusion
to shelter me from jabs and jealousies
as hot as a red moon near the belt of Orion.
I stirred dried leaves
until they kindled a passion of delusion
that sat with me.
I cried till tears dried on my face
and I slept till I awoke to the cawing of a crow.
Four-inch see-through stilettos
support this reed of a girl,
a kind of crystalline artillery
in the war of the workplace.
She floats on their translucence
as silver leather straps extrude
from the sides to wrap her foot
frantic for release to sneakers
Her dress surrounds her,
a garden of pink, white and black carnations
as its short skirt flirts with all males
within the radius of her smile.
The bodice caresses her shoulders
and dips at the swells of her breasts
inviting those men to taste her honey
while her words â€œGet another shirt.â€
or â€œYou hardly work.â€ repel and entice
in combination of war and play.
Her wire chandelier earrings swing
in unison and derision as she speaks
with a kind of sauce in her voice.
That wig with the magenta stripe
she wears tells tales of her youth
more than her heels
and in the war of the workplace
she is queen of the reception desk.