Ellen Lindquist

The Fish-Woman

Were the little scales that began to appear on her skin her imagination or a never-expressed interest in music? Why did her arms suddenly feel like fins? If these thoughts were not rational, what was the wisdom of a fish lying on a couch, flapping its fins in despair? Shouldn't a fish spend its time swimming about, eating smaller fish like anchovies and smelt? It always seemed a meaningless affectation but now it made sense. The reason we feel superior in eating fish goes back to our fishiness. It has nothing to do with high culture, but harkens to the adage of bigger fish eating smaller ones. She felt at a remove as she saw herself: a grown fish walking on two legs, eating skewered shrimp, lolling about in the bathtub in sea salts, lingering at the fish stalls, swimming expertly at the pool. She felt how slippery her skin was as she looked at the other fish in their net stockings with their large, flat eyes—how they wriggled when they walked. Although it seemed odd a fish could drive, she drove her car along the Palisades and looked down at the cliffs, then hung herself precipitously from a tree, to convince herself that a fish would not do such a thing.



Ellen Lindquist’s stories and poems have appeared online in Planet Magazine, the cafe irreal, Fiction Inferno and in print journals such as The Small Pond Magazine, US 1 Worksheets, and others. Her prose poem, “The Erstwhile Wire-Woman”, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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