The Occupant Imagines the House as a Great Fish

The Occupant Imagines the House as a Great Fish

  

It has already swallowed a century, each year a silver iridescent scale.  For eight, she has lived in its belly, slightly beyond her means.  How well she knows its creaks and currents of air, its slow, digestive rhythms.   How many mornings she has stood behind the large, glassy eyes that stare impassively down on the Park, observing the junkies and dog walkers awash in airy sunlight; and how many evenings felt herself sinking incrementally into the still and liquid night. 

Sometimes she imagines the former occupants:  the long dead whose bones are coral, or the others—dense spirits skimming the surface in narrow boats   She’d like to ask them a few things. Why did you wallpaper the ceiling?  Do you grieve for your body? But their words, dissolved in air, can find no purchase here, and she is not yet proficient in the dialects of silence.

Still, there is no ill will.  They come, untenable shadows, and go, stirring the boughs of tall firs.  Today too the sun appears; birds call across the surface of the morning.  Song of dissolution, song of light. She turns from the window as the thought rises—the house is a fish, and I— and glides into shadow, softly as the back door opening, closing.