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March 3, 2008 | by  | in Books |
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Mother is Being Dead Fishes

James had a cavity in the side of his neck where the pimple, with a hair growing out of it, had expanded until he’d scratched at it & it had bled. He touched it but it was dry so he drank his milo & sneezed.

He wanted to stay at home & help his mother cook but his father needed help chopping wood. Se he spent the afternoon pricking splinters out of his fingers & complaining that he was cold.

On weekends his father would take him fishing, & he enjoyed holding the nylon string & reacting when it twitched. It made him think of the guitar strings his mother would pluck. But the water in the estuary made him feel very small, as even though there was so much it all drained out to sea & back again each day. It brought the moon in tow. James thought that it should lose its timing, even just sometimes, like how he sometimes lost count when he was trying to learn piano. Yet it always went out & came back in & it frightened him.

He could not tell his father, so he hit the fish over their heads & gutted them with his knife, but it only made the sea a little smaller. He knew that even if he took all of the fish from the water it would still go out & come back in & he was still small & still lost his timing on occasion & sneezed.

When his mother finally died they sprinkled her ashes over the mudflats so that the tide would take her away. But even as James tried not to touch his scab he knew it would bring her back again, & that the fish he caught from now on would have eaten his mother & he hated them. He could hear the estuary laughing because his father didn’t even realise, just kept casting his line into the water.

James looked at his father, old & alone & quiet, & saw that he too was smaller than the water. He poured his father a cup of milo from the thermos, thinking that the water would still be here long after it had forgotten them. So he caught its children & killed them & wished they would turn back into his mother & not be dead fish, but they were.

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About the Author ()

Tristan Egarr edited in 2008. He threw a chair once.

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