If winter is a house then summer is a window
in the bedroom of that house. Sorrow is a river
behind the house and happiness is the name
of a fish who swims downstream. The unborn child
who plays the fragrant garden is named Mavis:
her red hair is made of future and her sleek feet
are wet with dreams. The cat who naps
in the bedroom has his paws in the sun of summer
and his tail in the moonlight of change. You and I
spend years walking up and down the dusty stairs
of the house. Sometimes we stand in the bedroom
and the cat walks towards us like a message.
Sometimes we pick dandelions from the garden
and watch the white heads blow open
in our hands. We are learning to fish in the river
of sorrow; we are undressing for a swim.
“The Name of a Fish” by Faith Shearin, from The Owl Question. © Utah State University Press, 2002.