See how you leverage your dignity
against the insults, trying to find
the balance that eludes your heart.

The trick is to stay on board
when the waters are rough
and you’ve lost sight of the shore,
out there in the middle of nothing.

Hungry questions circle your craft.
Parched for love, you’re feeling
daft to defend yourself with honest
answers— you’ll only incite their wrath.

And though you’re desperate
for any small kindness,
better to make friends with the elements—
revel in the sweet mirage,
hope the teary tide relents.

Do your best to learn their rhythm
and their rhyme; buy yourself some time.
Your mermaid’s allure will not serve you here;
not that you had much to begin with, dear.

That wicked line will tow you under
unless you can remember
who set your life asunder.

Claire Juno, © 2012