Mermaid

They want things
they want for us to feel
as they want us to
to control and dictate thought
parents they want preoccupied
by age and death
a ticking bomb countdown
to a time when today’s children
are elderly
and all others passed
it’s simple to control emotion
a phrase on a packet of photos
it says, “This year’s smile –
captured forever,”
because the boys and girls will grow
cold in their graves
old in their joints and bones
swallowed in loose skin
bent double by aches
but photographs age too
yellow and curl
color fades, lines blur
faces turn to featureless ghosts
there is no such duration
as forever
the children don’t get it
mom and dad don’t get it
the pictures don’t get it
eternity is a mermaid
illusory, unreal
a mistaken perception askew
murky under waves
senses are deceived
endless existence is non-existent
to entertain it is more folly
than sticking your prick up a fish

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