mermaid at night


Say the only dream you ever had was blue, a cool brilliance that engulfs everything in the universe. All you know of your place in the monochromatic everything is webbed feet, jewel fingers, and a certain unnamable longing.

You reach upward and out, straining to grasp the hazy glow of a distant light in your palms. You begin to swim faster and farther from the deep and dark. It’s warm near the surface but you don’t know what warmth is. There had never been anyone to teach you that word.

It’s a different kind of feeling. It tickles your skin. It makes your blood blaze and your heart leap.

You soar, soar, and soar toward the brilliance above and beyond until one night, the ghostly light looms directly overhead. You’re amazed because before, you had only your heart to see with but now you have eyes, ears and everything everywhere is amplified.

Suddenly, you’re no longer floating in that vast and lonely silence. The world you know has been set on its ear. It tilts over like a clumsy crab, unsettling you. You breathe in the air, but you don’t know what air is.

It whips around you and it roars. It makes your bones sing, sing, sing.

The light you were chasing is still way up above and out of reach. The darkness overhead is blanketed by jittery dots of light.

You remember, with stark clarity that you’ve seen it all before. That you once stood on two feet, on this shore, and lamented over the alien yet strangely familiar jewels that you could neither grasp with your own two hands nor wish upon fast enough when they fell from the heavens like tears.

You remember being human. What the poet said about death and the narwhal’s horn. You look to the stars. You look to the sea. You remember why you once cast the earth and the heavens away.

Is this the first time it occurs to you? The glitter-spotted darkness you’d left behind in the wet was the same as the seething mass in that place where you cannot fly.

Your body bends.

You sink back down into the sea. You bury your heart and longing once again. You dive all the way back down into the dark, into the deep.

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