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.

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