I am Margret

Chicago Literary Map

Henri Matisse, Woman Before an Aquarium 1921/23

I might as well be a fish,
Swimming,
Without a thought, without a will.  I’m trapped
in this glass. If only
my confinement wasn’t real.
Men.
Musty,
Scruffy. Yet
smarter than I. They go
places, See the world. I want
to travel and meet people
unlike myself. I want
to meet those that can speak
their minds, Do
as they please, Explore
new cities and visit friends they don’t even know yet exist.
Who made them king? I wonder
what it is to be a man.
I hear music.
Yes,
It is beautiful! I know
that tune, I’ve played it before,
though it’s been so long, I don’t know
if my fingers still remember
the keys
to lead me out of here.
Where?
Anywhere but here.
Outside this glass window.
I don’t remember the last time I opened it.
What time is it?
Have I lost track of the hour again?
Time to feed Ella?
You know,
sometimes I wish she were never born.
Oh,
I should feel guilty for saying that.
I haven’t blinked in a while. I’m afraid
if I close my eyes they won’t open again.
Sometimes I forget to breathe;
I have to remind myself.
You’d think with an empty mind it would be easy
to remember. I might as well
be a fish.

Writer: Kiana Lewis
Location: Art Institute of Chicago, Gallery 393B

This story was written in Salli Berg Seeley’s Explore Chicago class at DePaul University in collaboration with the Chicago Literary Map.

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