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Big Fish

The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

By Claire IbarraPublished 8 months ago 1 min read

She cooks dinner. She is wearing a white apron with red apples on it. She fries eggs, boils hand grenades, sautés her children. Then the refrigerator opens its door and swallows her in one gulp—just like how the big fish swallowed Jonah.

She lives in the cold cavern. She builds a fire to keep warm, but vegetables, like damp kindling, fill the cavern with black, heavy smoke. She likes it in there, it isn’t like the outside, where everyone tries to feed her and make her fat. Inside, she is alone and hidden in smoke, and she converses with skinny asparagus and pink, fleshy salmon. The salmon tells her, “You can leave anytime you wish.” She replies, “I think not.” Green worms crawl out of the red apples on her apron, they smile and wiggle. The worms grow tiny little arms, and tiny little legs, and big, round, soft heads. She places them in her mouth and swallows, so they can live safe inside her belly—just like how the big fish swallowed Jonah. Or maybe how the old lady swallowed a fly.

surreal poetry

About the Creator

Claire Ibarra

Claire is the author of Fragile Saints, a novel published by Adelaide Books in 2021. Claire’s poetry chapbook Vortex of Our Affections was published by Finishing Line Press in 2017.

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