The Mermaid Behind the Glass

John F. Buckley and Martin Ott

The fall of Atlantis is all our faults.
We are glued to flood news, spontaneous
gills, my own legs fused, mind swimming
behind a screen that pulses and broods.
No one remembers to feed the fish.
We let them comingle with scruffy tritons
with missing scales, neglecting our pets
as we inhale The Tuna Whisperer.
Lost surfers are occasionally caught
in nets made of plastic rings and bags,
and nothing stops The Sturgeon Surgeon
from attempting to save a life or two.
We are sluggish on coral couches, fins
rooted in pudgier flesh. Swimming only
to the fridge and back for fried krill puffs,
we blame our bulk on omega-3 fatty acids.

We all have a sense of drowning now,
high-rise apartments brushing the sea
bottom, the other world pale and brittle
as love. A mermaid's fate is to watch.