Mermaid Esther: An Astonishing Fire

Hold on there, Mermaid Esther,
don’t forget: your skillset
has been custom-built.

Remember what you were born for.
You’ve got this.

I promise that this discontent
is divine, despite the pain
you’re swimming in.

Although you’re going under,
sister, there will be no drowning today.
Dive unfathomable fathoms deeper.

Rather than look for loopholes,
fashion a life raft
From the strands
of your very real suffering.

Do not be deceived,
this misery
is no doled-out punishment
from on high,

it is a knock at the door
of your heart from inside.

Your soul is an imprisoned star
fishing for clemency.
Let the cage swing.
Throw it open.

You are built of double helixes,
a swirling evolutionary journey.

This life is a spiraling tidepool.
The view of glorious sunlight will
spin to the dark side of the moon,
as it is bound to do
with every revolution.

I call on you to remember you,
back before you became
your own wet metaphor.

The innocent kid
who turned cartwheels
naked, shameless and pure.

That wild girl who walked
into the ocean,
delighting in the cold bite.

The dreamer who believed
in infinity’s limitless possibility.

The precocious princess
not yet stripped of her intuition.

Remember when you
could clearly see the truth
of what was muddying the grownups
all around you?

How you’d watch them rationalize,
tell themselves lies,
overcomplicate, bury their pain,
only to inevitably explode later
in the most inappropriate, unrelated,
and dangerous of ways—
over and over again?

Remember the self-sworn oath?
Your vow to never let that be you?
There’s no roundabout route to salvation,
the only way out is through.

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Don’t confuse husk with vessel,
lest you self-immolate.
Subsumed in ocean,
while an astonishing fire blazes within.
You must spill forth this light,
or be consumed from inside.

This is the sacred act
of spark extraction.

This is returning to
the knowing in your bones.

No more ignoring
your internal warning system.

No more denying
inner guidance.

No more collapsing
under the depth charge of confusion.

Sister Mermaid Esther,
gather all of the flooding love
that spilled in surging waves
from every single heartbreak.

Return it to the heart-home
of your ribs,
interstitial glow
flowing out from within.

Toward the shore,
there is a lighthouse

of a little girl,

faithful and patient,

beaming rhythm-encoded
messages to you:

Swim up to the glimmering surface.
Break through.


With infinite gratitude beyond to my mentors Sarah Yehudit Schneider and Rabbi Yona Aryeh Refson.


Photo: The Little Mermaid by Miss Copenhagen