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At Weeki Wachee Springs

Wendy E. Kaplan
Poetry
…between pinwheel tumbles / and as they curl / their fins in / and out of undersea caves, / their arms their only limbs / propelling them…

the mermaids wear their long hair
loose. Not like when they train
in high chlorine Olympic-sized pools,
their thick manes tucked into slick
bathing caps, to cut down
on brittle split ends
and too much drag
as they dart their lithe skins
through the water, their coaches
coaxing them to move
fluidly, breathe
efficiently while they crawl.

But under the warm salt springs,
they can swim free, less lung
than gill and only
needing to sip from those serpentine
air hoses once in a while,
between pinwheel tumbles
and as they curl
their fins in
and out of undersea caves,
their arms their only limbs
propelling them,
their scaly bodices holding
them in, letting them
tuck and twist,
flip and twirl
through the murky saltwater that bathes
their swirling strands
waving,
chasing behind them.

Wendy E. Kaplan prefers being at sea level to the snow belt, but still has homes in both these places. Among her favorite ocean-focused writers are Pablo Neruda, May Sarton, and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. In addition to writing, she loves swimming and shell collecting, cats, singing the melody and the harmony, libraries, and shopping and swapping at thrift stores.

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