Yet, there it as-
An image composed of droplets mustering into focus
Reversible. Itself of itself the watery isomer.
Idea given substance, however tenuous and fading-
Tail, head, tail, tail, head.
An ancient enigma, certainly not pretty
But in sum, bewitching.
Had it power over flesh, could it see me?
Only indirectly, I recalled, as in the water's mirror,
And I must desire it first.
'Choose', said the hologram, sternly, from its higher station.
It was as if a hand had suddenly cupped my head.
But what part of the mermaid was I?
The muscular tail that could knock a man clear
Across a quarterdeck, against the rail?
A treacherous tail with a fornix?
Dumbly pummeling the floorboards, waterborne no more,
Spectral hues revived with a bucket of sea-water
Sparkled like a Roman grotto?
Judgement recoiled from the notion.
No, I would not!
The sickening barnacles, sea worts, the loathesome remoras,
Flukes, raggedy, gummed with oily beads
Always needing combing, combing, combing-
I touched my...
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