THE MYTHOLOGY OF SEAWEED
The mermaid wants nothing
so much as to stretch her legs,
to step from her fishy tail,
and walk. But she is not equipped
for that freedom, her destiny chosen for her
by frightened sailors and drunken fishermen,
who tell tales about her out of school.
In the masses of seaweed reaching up
to the light from the sea floor,
those men myth-make women who can drag
them under, desire so engulfing
that drowning seems preferable to living with it.
Why should she, unfree as she is,
not take revenge on her makers,
as perhaps all women should,
as perhaps all men fear.
Instead, they clutch each other tightly,
sink into the weedy depths.
Laurel S. Peterson is an English professor at Norwalk Community College and her poetry has been published in many literary journals. She has two chapbooks, That’s the Way the Music Sounds (Finishing Line Press) and Talking to the Mirror (Last Automat Press). Her full length collection, Do You Expect Your Art to Answer? (Futurecycle Press) was released in January 2017. She has also written a mystery novel, Shadow Notes, which is available through Barking Rain Press. She currently serves as the town of Norwalk, Connecticut’s poet laureate.