I Can’t Break Up with a Mermaid
You want something torrid,
a swan dive into jagged rocks and just enough
sea foam to make the blood look
pretty in the moonlight.
I do not want to look pretty in the moonlight,
to stumble back to the surf with
salt in my wounds, feeling like
a poorly cured chunk of ham.
Ship. Number. Three. You aren’t supposed to take
those poems of siren songs and shipwrecks
literally. They aren’t a substitute for a sex life. I’m tired
of having only half the parts for you, the strife
of you as just before we break all laws of man and god
you shout “I’m a sea cow!” and I say “you’re ten
kinds of wow” “oh you mean bow wow” Dammit I cry
foul. There’s no meeting you halfway, so
no. Not a sexy no. A Sex Ed no. A “no” means
no. But you wanna take the poems literally
like they’re gospel. So here I am, surf sounding “I told you so”
as the foam makes for a dirty shampoo of man-o-war
stings and flotsam. My toes sinking in sand as you sand
the softer parts of me as I wonder
if I have the sand to say so long, goodbye,
save these sins for someone a little
— David Arroyo
In 1985, David Arroyo was struck by a meteor. He was minding his own business, watching Aliens for the twenty-seventh time on HBO. Since then he’s been writing verse shimmering with the power cosmic. He’s been published by Burning Word, Stirring, and Abyss & Apex. He is a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program.
Editor’s Note: Pixabay’s Cassie Gorres provided the mermaid painting.