How to drown a mermaid

It ties around your neck

Weighs you down,

The leash is taut

And sharp and heavy

And sometimes you can flip your fins

just enough to graze the surface.


It reels me, steals my breath

A path of moldy breadcrumbs

The road to hell is paved

With intermittent bursts of loss

And strength.

The rippled silhouettes of sunlight

Out there, legs are required for jumping and dancing.

Air is required for fire to burn.


Down here it’s the worst of both worlds.

I can’t swim. I can’t burn.

Asphyxiated, by lack of air and lack of home.

Ariadne’s thread reels me through the maze
and repeatedly tells me to start again.


Anchors are the mermaid’s gallows.


I wonder how long I’ll last…

Grasping at bubbles for a gasp,

Sisyphing through life,

I’m tired of drowning and being reeled back,

And it will be so until I fade away.


The mermaid in me will die in the depths of my past,
gills rendered useless by the anchor, there’s no other way.


And I cry.

While I’m tied

I can never swim again.

By: Krystel J. Bravo

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