We came so trustingly, for love, but these Lowlands, flatlands, near beneath the sea Point with their cautionary bones of sand To exorcize, submerge us; we stay free Only as mermaids glittering in the waves: Mermaids of the imagination, young A spring ago, who know our loveliness Banished, like fireflies at winter’s breath, Because none saw; these vines about our necks We placed in welcome once, but now as wreath Against the scalpel cold; still cold creeps in To grow like ivy over our chilling bodies Into our blood. Now in our diamond dress We wive only the sequins of the sea. The lowlands have rejected us. They lie Athwart the whispering waters like a scar On a mirage of glass; the dooming land, Where nothing can take root but frost, has won. And what of warmth and what of joy? They are Sequestered elsewhere, southward, where the sun Speaks. For all our mermaid vigilance And balance, all goes under; underneath The land’s gray wave we falter and fall back To hibernate within the caves of death.