A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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March 2007, vol 3 no 1

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Charles Hansmann

Sun Fish

Her swimsuit hangs by its shoulder straps on the mirror of my wardrobe, and as I lie on the bed with my hands behind my head I imagine the swimsuit filling with a body. The form seems capable of taking any shape and I try not to force it; voluptuous, muscular, athletic, lithe? I even resist fixing it a face.

When I finally get up and walk toward the mirror, my image and the swimsuit are perfectly aligned. As I reach out to take the swimsuit down, my image in the mirror reaches back toward me as if the swimsuit were filled with my body.

Earlier that day I am caught by surprise–her hands atop my head, a very good dunk–and as my head goes under I feel the quiet closed pressure holding at my ears. I open my eyes, and in the watery light I see her legs and her arms, fanning and kicking, her ribs and her hips–then bubbles.

She ducks under, her cheeks pulled up by the buoyancy, and bubbles fly in bursts from her lips. Her hair is blowing, it seems, in the water's wind, and I imagine that she is the underwater side of me, that I have finally gotten past the mirror of me on the surface. I feel like a girl, or as if she were a boy, or we merge as a kind of exotic neuter.

sky glinting silver
under its pond reflection
a cloud of minnows