As Underwater, The Moon

The clouds went past the moon then the fish came trailing after. There wasn’t much moon beyond a quarter or slightly less but he could see it well enough, even through the leaves and the branches. It was winter but the cold didn’t bother him. He’d built well and besides that he’d brought up a little portable stove that burned pucks of fragrant paraffin. Also he had a good wool blanket spread over his legs that smelled of last month’s rains. Even still his feet were cold. The poor circulation of middle age. He was lucky that he could still climb the ladder that arthritis or a reasonable fear of falling hadn’t kept him on the ground. Mostly though he was watching the fish swim past the moon. Even if the moon was small some of its light clung to the fish after they had parted so that its flukes and fins shone faintly against the sky lit the high clouds.


A stratosphere fish. What he knew about fish could maybe fill a page but it wasn’t any kind of a goldfish or a salmon or a trout or anything like that. It wasn’t tight and solid it was wide and wavy like the bright poisonous fish he’d seen in a National Geographic last week. Lindsey had brought that in left it on the coffee table with the other magazines and he’d taken it into the bathroom with him just for something to look at. He didn’t read so much anymore. No patience for it. Just like those fish. It waved and dipped like a Chinese dragon just like that. And the puck in his heater hissed like a gas jet like the far off noise of a sleeping cat…