They told me she did not exist, at first,
that stained glass loves to trick the eye.
The worst thing about the windows is that God rarely
passes by; the church does not illuminate
with light. Instead, we’re tricked into thinking
that this bright-leggèd woman has a tail.
And so my mermaid paled and wept;
I’d made her wear a shirt so I could bring her
as my guest. The tops of her white breasts crowded
like the heads of newborn babies to her chest.
She was Madonna for the possessed,
her giant tail wetting the wood of pews.
We read Micah, Chapter Seven, in the mass:
And he will cast our sins into the depths of sea.
Verse Nineteen. My mermaid said It’s true.
Each prayer is caught by seaweed on the floor
and anchors itself deep beneath the sand.
The mermaids dig them up to use as bricks
and laugh at humans’ meaningless demands.