Poetry inspired by the pause between travels – Abigail S. Cull

The Mermaid

There is still an ocean
inside your chest,
your heartbeat marks
the ebb and flow,
changing tides. Do you
still scent the sea
when you inhale
deeply? Do you
still dream of those
murky depths?
For in your sleep
you sometimes move
with legs entwined,
as though bound with kelp,
you laugh, the sound
of tinkling seashells.
When you wake,
there is sand in your hair.
I can still taste the
salt on your lips
as you sing to me,
old songs of drowned
sailors, of the warm waves
that caress rocky shores,
and I allow you
to pull me under.


It shouldn’t be
like this. We tiptoe
around, hold our
breath and wait
for a slip-up, accidental
answers to any number
of questions we don’t
ask, won’t break
fragile eggshells
for fear we would cut
ourselves open.

I would tear
the voice from my throat,
walk on shaky legs
over mountains of glass
if I thought you
would be waiting,
open armed
on the other side.


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