after Carolyn Kizer and Emily Dickinson
300 miles from the sea
in this town I’m out of place –
a mermaid of crashing oceans,
a mermaid of the mountains,
a mermaid of rain on city streets
and a busy lake mermaid.
I have alternated.
there are other kinds out east –
mermaids in the fog across the wheatfields,
mermaids in the river winding through town,
mermaids in the waterfall behind the convention center,
mermaids in the basement of my shotgun house,
mermaids whistling from the teapot,
mermaids coming out of the faucet
and going into the garbage disposal,
mermaids coming out of their mother’s wombs
into the bath, into my hands, into a broken down
house with a pitbull out front and a kitten inside
gnawing on the edge a McDonalds cup,
mermaids in a brand new hot tub where I go
to soak my body when it aches from changing.