Elizabeth Tan is the author of the novel-in-stories Rubik (Brio, 2017) and the short-story collection Smart Ovens for Lonely People (Brio, 2020). She lives on Whadjuk Noongar land in Perth, Western Australia.
Mother of pearls
FictionBut we are more animal now than we’ve ever been. We read the water that leaps into our pools; we filter all kingdoms of life through our gills. We understand that the tendrils connecting one life form to another run much longer and deeper than you might expect. And we can entertain the notion that our strange tasks were like the fateful beats of a butterfly’s wings, and maybe the witch was a rare genius, able to perceive how the purloined dog, the pawned bird or the swapped cats would, in the mysterious rippling of the universe, lead to our deepest desires coming to pass.