Etymology

Last night you brought me
some objects from the beach–
starfish, whale tooth, fish skeleton-
a flounder with bad luck, you said.

You draped seaweed over your head
And called it mermaid hair, reminding
me of the day you swam to me
Out of the city crowd.

Object by object you set down
and named. Fossilized stone,
spitting clam. Bloated corpse
of a not-so-disposable diaper.

The last was to make an
ecological statement. But
it put me off my lemon pasta.
We must feel significant.

Why is that? The delusion as
necessary as water to the
gills of that poor dead flounder

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