To the Air

His fisherman’s cap 
is gray as is the sea 
where he stares. He once 
saw a mermaid 

there     near
the shore tangled 
in kelp. She wanted him 
to not see her. She wasn’t 

a gift. He wasn’t. Yet 
he stared. Keeps returning 
to stare at the now
nothing he sees. Nothing 

as in not her.
He once said he loved 
her     sea life.
He’s captured     capturer.

Blame agony.  
Blame perpetual 
return to the kelp 
stuck to his feet     for 

the wind over 
ears     in canals.
She’s singing 
a water hymn  

not to him
but to the air.  
This is where 
he dissolves.  

Copyright © 2024 by Myronn Hardy. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 23, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.