The Mermaid, 1900

John William Waterhouse



Then Edward’s mother whispered through my phone
that he remembered no one else. That I
stood in that gap of memory alone
and wanted. Would I come to him and try
to see if some brain fissure would unfold
if I could smile just so? I took a fern—
a fecund, restless thing that I could hold
before me like Medusa’s head. In turn
he froze, then waved me off. I’m not the one
he taught to kiss, the girl who loved him back.
She’s scattered through my synapses, but none
of me is who she was. Time is a track
that leads one way. Dead cells cannot regrow
and those I’ve lost are who he used to know.