Prompt: ‘sea creature’ #300DaysOfFlashWriting

In the vast open sea, the boat takes me to your home, an uncaged prison.

I find you, swimming beneath me, not fast, like a fish,

but leisurely and gentle, human-like, just slow enough for me to keep up,

swim above you and follow you, my pale legs slithering through the water

shimmering, like a mermaid, with a gas mask snorkel.

I reach out to touch your hard shell, stroking, with fleshy fingers,

the patches of furry green carpet, layered across

your heavy back, dirty and soft, and I imagine your face,

your weary, beady eyes and your mouth, all hard jaws and no teeth,

poor thing, a creature over one hundred years old, stuck with a mouth like a baby –

a hundred years old, all those wars, and politics and pandemics – and you made it! –

though you are tired, I imagine, of swimming in circles

and people you don’t know prodding your shell

and following you around, while your real friends are nowhere to be seen.

The tour guide swims beside me and grabs my wrist, he points to the boat -

it’s time to go back. I say goodbye to you, silently,

while the guide swims behind, his roaming hands nearly touching

my weighty feet and I swim, faster, my chest tight,

shoulders held down with rocks, frightened, no one from the tour can see

what’s happening, under the sea, just him, and you and me.

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