A house has a hole, it should, it does. The house shines anyway. So do its alternate roofs.
       Mint, rose, blue.
       With sheen did I say?
       A whole bird can fit in the hole of the house. Worms hide out in the alternate roofs.
       I don’t want to talk about my hearts. I have two. Doesn’t everyone?
       One of my hearts has four holes in it. One has two. One of my hearts is in half. The other’s in thirds.
       They’ve been mashed together elegantly if you can picture it. They fan out with a bright finish.
       There are color options, but no one chooses them.
       The sun is a round of skirts twirling. The shadows it juts upon the world are its art form.
       If you stand in the right place the hole moves.
       There are birds that shoot up from the ground.


You are welcome to come in and nibble. I will provide a tiny bowl.
       I don’t mind if you’re slanted about the mouth.
       If a mold platoons at the edges of my lumpen tray, curtains your eye-ache, crawls pink diamonds up your cup, drink. What’s within is live air.
       A cup is a hole. Thirst is a hole too.
       I could have had a rose roof, but no one chose it, not even me.


There’s a boat out back as you’re likely aware.
       The boat looks just like the water. The difference is the boat cuts off and the water goes on. It’s quite simple.
       The boat leans left, pale blue where it pools.
       The boat’s inhabitants are sheer. Still they shine. I mean sail. I mean swim.
       The boat was once gripped tightly. Today it appears to go ungripped.
       Do not be fooled.


The boat bobs toward a tunnel. The tunnel, too, looks like water.
       Unlike the boat, the tunnel has no clear inhabitants.
       The boat kindly veers off to inhabit it.
       The problem is the tunnel has a sharp curve. It’s nearly geometric.
       The boat’s inhabitants shudder.
       Once they are through shuddering they see a light in the form of an identical boat.
       The difference is the new boat has never been gripped.
       The inhabited boat kindly veers off to grip it.
       Now the boats really look like water. You can hardly see them.
       It’s almost romantic.


I know it’s difficult to resist the allure of boating.
       But I want you to know you are always welcome in the house. There’s a lumpen tray with your name on it.
       If I’m asleep, slip in through a hole. Pretend to be a bird eye.
       There’s a clay bowl in the cabinet for each of your hearts.
       Let them have their fill.
       When you’re restored, we’ll head to the shed for cans of rose paint.
       The house will be a beauty if you can picture it.
       I can’t see your boat, the color of tide swells. Like most, I look away from what’s clear.
       But however we appear, we are all attempting to grip it.




Jessica Lee Richardson’s first book, the story collection It Had Been Planned and There Were Guides won the FC2 Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize and was longlisted for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Award in 2016. Her fictions have appeared in Adroit, the Indiana Review, Joyland, PANK, Slice, and elsewhere. This piece owes a debt to Zach Doss and to ceramicist Heather Mae Erickson’s work.