I Met a Mermaid on the Metro

by Casey Fiesler

I met a mermaid on the Metro.
She was sipping an iced mocha,
Wearing Prada,
Sneaking glances
As each new pair of feet arrived.

I'd gotten on at Wheaton,
Riding in to Union Station,
And I watched her
Watching footsteps
As the Metro rumbled on.

I could barely see the green scales
Peeking out beneath the Prada,
But I could see how
Dry her skin was --
She scratched her wrists, and wet her lips.

We ground to a stop at Brookland;
I saw her eyeing me with envy.
Was it my sandals?
My hot coffee?
I finally said, "You're far from home."

"I like it here," she told me.
"Slippery men in slippery Houses.
It's just the air --
Takes some adjustment."
And then she said she liked my shoes.

I rummaged for a moment
In my bag, pulled out a bottle.
It was lotion,
Smelled like Seafoam,
Held it out across the car.

She looked grateful as she rubbed it
On her hands, and soon it smelled like
Salt and flowers.
And she smiled;
It reminded her of home.

Beside us, in Armani,
A businessman glared at the lotion.
"On the phone,"
He snapped with venom.
The smell destroyed his train of thought.

I left the mermaid on the Metro
When we rolled into Union Station.
And she kept riding,
Smelling Seafoam,
As my feet carried me to work.


Casey Fiesler is law student, and a graduate of the Clarion East Writer's Workshop. Her poetry and short fiction can be found in Full Unit Hookup, Son and Foe, and upcoming in The Town Drunk. There is little more about her of interest, though what there is can be found at her website. She has no comment on whether it's the law or the writing that's driving her mad.

She wishes she lived in D.C. if only for the public transportation, and her favorite fruit is the lime (especially when paired with coconut).

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