Neruda. Fable of the Mermaid and the Drunks

by Emma

All these fellows were there inside when she entered
utterly naked.
They΄d been drinking and began to spit at her,
recently come from the river, she understood nothing.
She was a mermaid who had lost her way,
the taunts flowed over her glistening flesh
Obscenities drenched her golden breasts.

A stranger to tears, she did not weep,
A stranger to clothes, she did not dress.
They pocked her with cigarette ends and with burnt corks
And rolled on the tavern floor in raucous laughter
She did not speak, since speech was unknown to her
Her eyes were the colour of far away love
Her arms were matching topazes
Her lips moved soundlessly in coral light
And ultimately she left by that door
Hardly had she entered the river than she was cleansed
Gleaming once more like a white stone in the rain
And without a backward look, she swam once more
Swam towards nothingness, swam to her dawn.

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