fish out of water

when you look at me
through your don't-know-any-better eyes
you see a mermaid
that you want to hold
to look after
to love...

you don't understand...

that a mermaid can never
be possessed by man
that her beauty
is in her cruelty
that her seductiveness
is in her unattainability...

and while a mermaid without water
cannot swim
when you offer me your heart
i cannot breathe

Paula Harris

Published in woman, phenomenally
1997
Published in In Our Own Words Vol. 3
2001