Mermaid Rejection — James Valvis

I’m going to put this as plainly as possible.

Even if I desire you waist up,

what can we share belly down?

Not to mention that awful fish smell.

Even with society’s greater acceptance

of mixed relationships,

think of our children and their little webbed feet,

gills tucked behind their ears,

and their Old Testament aversion to shellfish.

How will we raise them? On sea or land?

Besides, have you ever tried to carry a fish tank?

I have, and still have back problems to prove it.

I don’t care what you see on television these days.

It’s not so easy to throw off one’s culture and biology.

Listen, we all want to be as tolerant as possible,

and nobody thinks mermaids aren’t terrific half-people,

but I need to desire the entire person, not just part,

so I’m not dating any mermaid, not just you.

With my endless hunger and rotting flesh,

I have enough problems already being a zombie.


James Valvis is the author of two collections of poetry and has placed poems or stories in Ploughshares, River Styx, Arts & Letters, Asimov’s, Natural Bridge, Southern Indiana Review, The Sun, and many others. His poetry was featured in Verse Daily. His fiction was chosen for Sundress Best of the Net. A former US Army soldier, he lives near Seattle. You can follow him on Twitter at @JamesValvis.