Featured Image: Robbie Sproule


You think she’s a mermaid.
She swims in her tears.

If she cried them herself,
Then who am I to judge?

I live and learn like anybody else,
So how do I sit and say they’re wrong?

I guess your mermaid becomes a piranha
When you mistake us all for fish.

Ya’ll want to call us mermaids,
Because we’re your poetic nymphs.

Sad, alone, and hurt:
Every stereotype in a nutshell.

I would rather be a whale or a shark,
Hunted down for being realistic

Than put on a pedestal
As the eighth wonder of the world,
Swimming in an ocean of my tears.


“Mermaid” is my frustration with the poetry community. The voices of minority poets are often relegated to talking about our struggles and issues. We are not published when we want to write about regular topics; we have to constantly tear open our wounds to create content. I don’t want my ability as a writer to be stifled by the expectations of predominantly white editorial teams on mainstream platforms. As a poet, I should not have to write about all the ways I’m repressed and mistreated to satiate a vicarious readership.

Tags: marina ali mental health mermaid Poem poetry
Share this post

Marina Ali is the poetry editor for Brown Girl Magazine and a medical student at Kansas City University.