It would help if I could actually swim
and not just flail, half-drowned, gasping
snatches of air before tumbling under
the blue-green waves that promised escape
but the wrong kind—death was not what
I had in mind—and so I struggle on until
a vexed mermaid appears, rolls her pearl eyes,
grabs me and forces her lips upon mine.
Gills ripple painfully along my neck
and I finally am at peace with the water
but unsure as I follow my savior deeper
into the dark, cold deep, keeping up as best
I can, wondering if the current will take
me to paradise or the exact opposite.