fishbowl eyes

She had rivers of black running down her cheeks.

Her eyes reminded me of the twenty five centimeter fish bowl I once had when I was nineteen and ready for things I wasn’t.

When I looked at her, I wanted to stare for too long and tap on the sclera to test the strength of the white of her eyes.

Don’t scare the fish.

I saw a shark in her eyes one night. It was circling a memory, its black fin slicing through the calmness and warning threatening schools of thought.

Today, her mascara streams down her face, like leaking octopus ink and I wonder what it tastes like.

Was she an obscure culinary treat or a dangerous creature of spontaneity?

She said things sometimes that made me step backward once or twice, just enough to include safe space. I was never frightened of her, though wary.

Her fishbowl eyes were enticing and sometimes entrancing but I knew there were things trapped within and I wondered how to set them free.

My mother once tipped my two goldfish down the toilet when I was seven and three quarters but she said they’d have a better life and it wasn’t fair to keep them in such a small square tank.

I held my breath as I thought about them slurping into the revolts of the S bend, down and away, out through a big underground pipe. Hopefully they found the ocean.

I reach across from me and slide two delicate fingers across my friends cheek, her ink attaches to my skin and for a moment I consider trailing it across my tongue.

She smiles at me and the smudges in her eyes help her to see more clearly.

The view outside often makes her cry.

© ryan

fishbowl eyes

PJ Ryan

Melbourne, Australia

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