Advice for a Young Woman Who Suddenly Finds Herself as a Mermaid Without a Man Or, Between Us Girls

They say the whole world is carried
on one turtle’s back. This weight might be kinder

and lighter than a man’s guilt
which fills me— in this case, I’m the vase.

His eyelight looks out my eye holes until
I can’t see the horizon—

far off and clear, as water
in a light bulb.

Dry your eyes, Precious, water counts for
less now—

where currents take us up
as indifferently as a cat licks its ear.

This isn’t the creek you first
found your feet in.

Maybe I’ll put it this way—
I don’t know how to talk to you about you

as I can hardly talk about me, because
what we are now is something as delicate

as an achew
that bursts into the world,

unsure where it came from—
dumbfounding the fish.

That isn’t funny.
What I can tell you is:

it’s dark out there. Don’t mistake the yellow shoreline
for home; it’s just a place for whales to beach.