The Mermaid Room
My room is like the inside of an oyster shell –
at high tide the water reaches halfway up the wall,
the door can be opened without spilling a drop.
My treasures are a toast-rack and an eggcup,
a pair of stilettos, a little black dress
and twenty seven wedding rings.
On foggy nights I am the melancholy
smooch of a saxophone, leading you astray.
In summer, flute laughter shivers from my throat.
You find me one evening in autumn
following the hint of lemon-grass and cinnamon
that lead up the stairs to a numbered door.
I am sunlight on the under-floor of forest,
cardamon, galangal, ginger –
a soft commingling of constellations;
I am the voyage you will make alone
in a small, unstable, open boat
for the rest of your life…
In the morning they’ll find you in the harbour
your lungs full of daisies and snails in your hair,
traces of gold beneath your nails.
The fishermen will shake their heads:
they’ve seen that rapturous, troubled look
too many times.
By then, I’ll have had my breakfast
my face will be flickering like faces in a dream
or a water-colour, overcome with rain.