She stood at the rail, looking away from me
the blue in her eyes was the same as the sea
the storm that gathered in the western sky
was not the cause of her heart-shattering sigh

“I can’t stay here” She said with a plea-full voice
“I want to, believe me, but I just have no choice”
“just as your lungs can’t breathe the brine
the air where you live, doesn’t work well with mine”

and I sat with my back to the mainmast tall
and I wondered, could I bear to see her at all?
I sat with my face, looking out at the sea
with her behind me, looking away from me

I imagined her there, as she leaned on the rail
imagined her beauty, pale skin like the sails
a hibiscus bloom tucked into her golden mane
her arms spread wide, supporting her preternatural frame

I imagined her lips, their dark burgundy hue
I imagined me smarter and knowing just what to do
she’d long since traded her scales for tears
and sold them to bargain for added on years

“I’ve found the embrace of the sea’s not so cold,
as this top-sided Hades where you live and grow old.
But I can stop that from happening, if you’ll just try to stand
and we’ll leave here together, if you’ll come take my hand”

“I know”, I agreed with her, as I listened to her now
I wanted to leave here, but I wasn’t sure how
My heart and my mind, were ready to give chase
but my soul and my feet, were rooted in place

My life, it would seem, is anchored here
and though, it wouldn’t miss me, I’m halted by fear
a fear I’ve faced, in youth and with age
that I would be good enough, to be anyone’s first page

That I could be, the protagonist of anyone’s book
that I’d be heroic, both in manner and look
that I’d be decisive and take action with pride
that I’d get to my feet and go to her side

“You’ll have to leave that armor, if you’re coming with me
it will rust so terribly, made worse by the sea.
You really won’t need it, once we’re under the waves
I promise I’ll guard you, and you’ll be quite safe”

And there it was, precisely, why I couldn’t leave
the thought of me not positioned behind breastplate or greave
the thought of my heart vulnerable to pistol or lance
the thought that death would take me, if given a chance

I fought with all my fiber, made my muscles come to heel
though my stomach felt like lead and my arms felt like steel
I turned myself around to look where she stood
but all I found was a hibiscus bloom, lying there on the wood

and now you wonder if I kept it?
you wonder if I would?
you look at me and ask yourself, if anyone ever could?

Keep something so special, and frail as this tropical bloom
maybe inside a small locked chest, on a high shelf, inside his room
to sit upon his bunk on days, when the sun won’t hardly shine
and open the lid and look inside and remember when she was mine