Ferns line the path between
as tall as me
old buildings seem to swoon in the heat
a northern seaside town turned tropical
in uncharacteristically warm May.
Running late to the movies
where women friends wait
pop into The Star Store
grab sour cherry licorice and some cash
try to hurry back
only to get caught in a warm windless moment
molten feet can only stroll at snail’s pace
wonder touches flushing face.

The movie is good
beautifully shot, set in Paris, yet
I’m distracted.
My fingers are still outside
touching tropical ferns just manifest
reading charming fliers meant for tourists
watching the torpid sea
enjoying wafting French food from Prima Bistro
listening as the checkout woman
carries on three interesting conversations simultaneously
two in person, one on the phone.
Feeling heat upon imaginary bare shoulders
remembering what it feels like to
feel sexy and noticed by strangers on the street.

Prufrock, you’re indescribably lovely in your pensive observations,
breathtakingly human in your solitary regrets.
But you don’t have dear women friends.
I do, ha ha!
That’s not going to be me anymore.
Not in Langley.
I’m ditching my desire for silent sea floors.

We have power beyond imagination here.
We do not cower in the corner, choking on the ridiculous.
We do not apologize for our shapes and sizes, our hair, our
thrift-store chic wardrobes.
We have left behind hiding ample arms, round stomachs
and thinning hair
from shallow cavities where human eyes should be.
Have left behind seeing those eyes in the mirror.
We have left behind not dancing.

We celebrate bunny Monday, movie Wednesday, farmer’s market Friday
celebrate spring and summer
and fall and winter
appreciate the mouth feel of a well-told story
drive out of our way to find the too-big moon
walk home in magic light on unpedicured feet
smelling newly mown grass
with sexily crooked noses
on warm summer nights.

We call forth
tropical ferns to a northern seaside town.

We call forth
wide mother moon in her dusky pink gown.

We call forth whales
gray, black, and white
deep roots
beach boots.

We love
this place
this moment
this self
this sound.

Together we are mermaids
who cannot drown.

mermaid totem