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If you would have told her ten years ago
that it would be this easy,
she would have cursed you in the night. 
You have no idea, she whispers,
what it took to get here from there.

She raises her dark head out of water
like she did not need to come up for air,
like she has been swimming right under this surface
for years, and she does not need you to know
just how effortless it has become.

There is something to be said about that, yes.
Something to find beautiful.  

She is no mystical creature.
She is no precious landscape.
But if she was a princess
in someone else's castle
,
I'd be inclined to believe her about it.

After revising our wills, advance directives and POAs, I thought what will happen to my mermaid collection when I die? I thought a lot of other things as well that were just too depressing. So I began a list in my head, a rough estimate, as I fell asleep that night.

There are three in our bedroom: one cheap mermaid toe ring, one beaded and handsewn pillow, a blonde mermaid with starfish in her hair that my husband puts on my side of the bed, then steals it sometime during the night for himself. The third mermaid is a three foot tall table base my husband bought for me. I keep a large glass bowl with my grandmother's buttons on the round glass table top and have somewhat covered the bare breasts with purple silk flowers, pointing her towards the window that overlooks the chapel parking lot.

There is only one mermaid in the library, that I know of, a bizarre print from my husband's sister in California. A voluptuous mermaid kissing a diver wearing a scuba diving helmet and suit. That's his room, an odd mixture of his past, where I rarely set foot.

There is another one, half rusted, sitting on brick steps leading to our front door, with her bookend twin on the front porch, used as a door stop. They are cast iron and solemn, with perfect posture and a vague suggestion of breasts.

There are a total of nine mermaids in the upstairs bathroom. I thought I was doing the right thing putting them near water, albeit not sea water. That room was added in the 1930's, so we have a large claw foot porcelain bath tub, which if need be, they could use. Just add salt.

In my laundry room, originally called the mud room, there is one lone mermaid, cavorting with porpoises.

The majority of mermaids are in my kitchen: two on a coffee cup, five as refrigerator magnets, one is a hook for keys, and one linen dish towel has nine mermaids doing nine different mermaid things. None of them seem to miss their legs perhaps because they can do such sexy things with their tails.

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