The View from the Fishbowl
by Jenn Reese


She took everything but our fish.

It floated there in its tiny bowl, wondering what it did to lose her love. Could it have swum faster, been cuter when she rapped on the glass, not eaten quite so many fish flakes when they fell from the sky like autumn leaves in an autumn breeze?

"She loved you," I told the fish, "just not enough."

"But there must have been something I could have done differently," the fish bubbled. "There's always something."

I shook my head, tapped a few more flakes into his bowl. They sat on the surface, slowly darkening. "Not always."

It wiggled its purple-blue fins. "Yes," it said. "Always, always."

"You could have noticed her more," I said. "You were always in your own little world, your own bowl. Sometimes you didn't even notice when she came in the room."

"I may not have showed it," said the fish, "but I noticed. Always, always, I noticed. She wore a pink halter top yesterday and the little shoes that make her toes look like tiny, painted sardines all in a row. She smelled like coffee, and her eyes were red."

"But you didn't say anything to her," I said, dumping more flakes into his bowl. "You swam in your little circles and ate your food and did all your everyday fish things in your everyday fish world."

"My fish world was always hers for the asking," the fish said quietly.

"You should have offered. You should have shared. You should have noticed. You should have spoken."

"I should have," it said. "And now she's gone."

I poured flakes onto the water's surface, covering it, smothering it in autumn.



About the Author:

Jenn Reese has published stories in cool places like Polyphony 4, Flytrap, Strange Horizons, and various anthologies. Her first novel Jade Tiger is forthcoming from Juno Books, and her illustrated chapbook "Tales of the Chinese Zodiac" is now available from Tropism Press. Jenn lives in Los Angeles, where she practices martial arts, plays strategy games, and sits in traffic. You can follow her adventures at her website.


Prose poem 2006 Jenn Reese.