Faces and Scales
Last night on their way upstairs, the neighbors came in
and sat at our table, and we could sense the hole
like a sudden cave inside her, the reason they were canceling
our dinner plans, and she mentioned funeral
but said nothing more, so we asked
about the local fish and what we might buy at the market
because we were still fairly new in town and could get away
with such ordinary questions, and our neighbor, shifting her weight
around the invisible swell, used her hands to pull her lips
into a tight smile across her cheeks, raised to the light
and she moved her head back and forth and said
This is the fish, this is what he looks like.
Eleanor Paynter has roots in Texas, Rome, and New York. Her work can be found in American Literary Review, Cincinnati Review, Nimrod, Southloop Review, and in the chapbook Dismantling the Hive (Toadlily 2012). She lives in the Netherlands.