by Maria Ordish

The satsumas I bought have already rotted.
4.49 a bag.
I must find the receipt and return them to the shop.
Sigh ...
Did they sour walking home from the market?
Had I not noticed their freshness?
One by one I peel them, searching for a bit of untainted flesh.
Just one bite ...
But the smell of sweet rot turns my stomach.
They look beaten and ugly piled in the kitchen bin.
I feel guilty that I didn't pay them better attention.

At the table my soup sits, waiting.
I stir it.
There is a red fish with chiffon plumes swimming 'round, eating my noodles.
Its mouth puckering happily ... slurping them up.
Should I eat the fish?
It smiles at me.
But, this is my favorite soup!

The house girl is flirting with my husband.
I'm not even certain she knows that I am his wife.
The anger inside me is growing and spilling out of cracks in this apartment.
I fear she put the fish in my soup.
Is it a message?
Does she know that I can't eat red fish?

I'm tired of the struggle.
And I hate the orange doors in this apartment.
Synthetic bright orange doors.
There's no explanation for them.
The view through our windows is extraordinarily organic ...
Filled with leaning trees and babbling brooks.
A panorama of lucid glass separating me from the oxygen.
Perhaps the fish would prefer one of those brooks ...

I sneeze hard.
Too hard.
My brain feels as if it will explode.
My sinuses sting.
I am allergic to this life.

There are 8 or 10 containers of pills lined on the shelf in this kitchen.
Keeping the instructions straight is exhausting.
I despise how they rattle and scream inside when I shake them about ...
Choreographed synthetics with colored pop top caps.
I would bet they can't see their stickers peeling ...
Some prescription.
Some generic.
Yet, all the same in the end.

Illya's Honey Literary Journal

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