Oni Buchanan

PROSTHETIC MERMAID TAILS

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  •  
  • Prosthetic mermaid tails | for humans are now
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    • in the queue of consideration | to be declared illegal.
  • In some more forward­looking | countries with more
    •  
    • evolved, efficient | judicial systems, indeed
  • mermaid tails have already | been declared illegal.
    •  
    • Because the problem is that | when wearing a mermaid tail,
  • it turns out that humans | become fooled by the temporary
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    • physicality, by the merging | of the legs into a fin—even a
  • prosthetic fin!—to think | that they could stay underwater
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    • longer than is actually | humanly possible. Given human
  • limitations of breathing. | See, the reality
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    • is that people were drowning. | Real people were actually drowning!
  • Human men and women | who wore mermaid tails
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    • found their brains in such a | state of ecstasy—flipping
  • underwater, gliding, speeding, | diving deep—and they stayed
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    • too long, they engaged the | illusion 20­35 seconds too long
  • was really all it took. | (Approximately.) Just the
    •  
    • slightest misdemeanor. | Just the slightest self­indulgence.
  • Just the sheer wonder, luxuriating | at the joy they felt, at the sudden
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    • intoxicating quantity of | bliss and freedom! At the
  • possibilities opening up, | unfolding before them almost
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    • infinitely after so much | deprivation! After so much
  • gravity and groundedness! | And honestly, it blotted out
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    • their better judgment. | And they drowned
  • from lingering too long | in their fleeting fantasy, their
    •  
    • self­delusion which had | meanwhile brought them deep
  • into an uninhabitable | ecosystem. You can see
    •  
    • how this phenomenon | is problematic. Because
  • to put it bluntly, human | possibility ends before
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    • mermaid possibility, when it | comes to swimming underwater.
  • It’s just a pure and simple | fact. Everyone knows that
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    • rationally. And from isolated | tragedy, as sometimes happens,
  • a larger pattern began | to form when tracked upon a
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    • map, when tracked in analyzed | causality: drownings of euphoria,
  • drownings of delirious | diving, drownings with the widest
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    • smiles and the cheeks stretched | underwater with the speed,
  • then suddenly the limits | of the breath’s elasticity are
    •  
    • reached, the surface frames | a tantalizing gateway,
  • the sun shines high | above the shimmering boundary—

ONI BUCHANAN is a poet, pianist, and the founder and director of the Ariel Artists classical music management company. Buchanan is the author of three books of poetry: Must a Violence, Spring, and What Animal. Her poems have been selected for numerous anthologies, and have been published in many print and online literary journals.


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