The Old Mermaid - Once Upon a Poem Scholarship Slam


The surface, as I reach it,

quivers and shakes 

as the shining sun pours

down onto my face. 

My sisters before 

warned me of the heat, 

of the glare;

yet I swim to the top, 

now that I am fifteen.


Above the water

lights of red and blue 

fill a darkened sky. 

The sea rolls on and on 

until the waves crash 

over the side of a vessel;

the celebration has ended. 


He sinks, like a stone. 

I swim, to bring him air once more. 


The beach, where he lays, 

has been scraped away 

by thrashing waves. 

The sky, now black with storm clouds, 

awaits my return to the sea; 

yet I stay with him

now that I have seen his face. 


Below the water 

fish and kelp move 

with the merciless current. 

The cave draws me deeper in

to see the witch beneath the waves, 

to make a deal;

my past has ended. 


The witch promises, like the devil. 

I accept, like a fool. 


Only once I return 

to the skies of blue above

do I realize my fault:

a soul cannot be bought

or sold. 

Through my greed

I have been stripped

of all that I loved. 


The witch promised me legs

so that I may walk and dance

with the one I left upon on the beach. 

Legs I was given

but they are frail. 

My hair is now white. 


In my reflection 

in the water

I see old eyes, 

old skin, 

and no beauty to remain.




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