After the show, we could take pictures, by standing outside the tank.
The mermaid would swim to the glass, smile, and you’d stand in front
of that same glass, and smile, or give a thumbs up,or pull a silly face.
Harsh light and tropical fishes swimming about with nowhere to go to.
The mermaid, with rust colored hair starting to fade, fair skin looking chalky,
and a tail not as vibrant as it once had been, would smile for you, sweetly.
I watched from the shadows in the back while the others crowded forth.
I thought I was not a gawker, and mark, or an awful person, yet I was here.
I watch the mermaid play her part in this dance, in this cruel play, not crack.
Almost to the end, as others had gone, I walked to the tank, heart racing.
She noticed me, smiled, a little light coming to her face, though unsure.
She swam close to the glass, looked me in the eye, curious and anxious.
A breathe away from the glass, I looked into her eyes, eyes deep and dark,
that knew kingdoms older than man, and wonders lost when Earth was young.
Eyes that had sorrows deeper than the ocean she’d been stolen away from.
I put my hand on the glass, cold and sterile, chilled and hard, something between.
Her face was unsure, but still curious, still wanting to be seen, to be seen as whole.
She placed her own hand on the glass opposite of mine, and we watched each other.
I smiled, a pittance, a penny thrown to a beggar, knowing I loved this creature,
but that I was here where she was kept, and was part of the curse that trapped her.
But I wanted to see her, up close, in the light, and I wanted her to see me too.
She looked into my eyes too, saw into me, saw all that was there, broken, lost.
She didn’t smile, but she didn’t take her hand away, and there we were, watchers,
strangers in an imbalnce of desire. She was taken. I was there too look upon her.
Finally, I looked away, cast my eyes down, and turned from her and the bright tank.
Through the dakrened theatre I walked, shame in desire fufilled, a derire, in the end,
I could not sate or deny, but gave into, and came her to get what it was I wanted.
At the door, I looked back. She was still floating there, her hand still on the glass,
watching me with a distant, sad look, a look that shamed me, made my face flush
and my heart race. My eyes stung and I left her there, not looking back at all as I ran.