Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Mermaid


All day he had felt her stirring
under the boat, and several times
when the net had tightened, frog-nervous,
he had bungled the pulling-in,
half-glad of the stupid, open mouths
he could throw back.

_______________At sundown
the shifting and holding of time and air
had brought her to the still surface,
to sun herself in the last, slow light
where lilies and leeches tangled and rocked.
He could have taken her then, aimed his net
as dragonfly hunters do when the glassy gliding
of rainbows goes to their heads,
could have carried her home on tiptoe
and lifted her lightly, ever so lightly,
over his sill.

_______And, hopeless, knew,
that to have her alive was only this,
the sounding, casting, waiting, seeing
and praying the light not to move,
not yet to round the bay of her shoulder
and passing, release her
to the darkness he would not enter.


By Lisel Mueller

1 comment :

hila said...

oh how beautiful!