kathy fish





A woman scrapes paint off the walls of a small house on a spring day. The house sits in the middle of a garden enclosed by a stone wall and a wrought iron gate. The doors and windows are open wide. Her boy pushes a twig around in a bird bath under the swaying limbs of a jacaranda. He sees a snail under the lip of the basin and shouts “nail!” The woman goes to the doorway. Broken sunlight spills over the boy’s head and shoulders. Lately, she’s had visions of fire ants crawling through his scalp, entering his nostrils, his eye sockets. She regards him with a terrible precision.

“You are my brilliant boy,” she says.

He lifts his eyes to her and raises the stick high.




Friday Afternoon, Her Father's Music Shop


Zelda's got atypical tinnitus. She hears tenor sax, bouncing from ear to ear as if someone were someone were turning a knob left, then right, as if Lester Young himself were held hostage inside her auditory cortex. She sits on a stool behind the counter of a second-hand musical instrument shop while her father counts change and talks with the customers. Yes, he says. He looks over his shoulder at her, turns away. When I played...Zelda with her hands folded, strains to hear, their voices like whispers on paper like sheet music like ghosts.






A doctor and his wife came over some evenings and ate after I'd been sent to bed. I watched from the top of the stairs. The doctor was very fat and had to sit far back from the table. He panted when he ate like he was out of breath and spilled food down the front of his suit. My mother laughed. She was charmed! I wanted to shout at them, demand an introduction, but I returned to my bed. Their voices rose up through the vents like a choir. In my dream the fat doctor became a panther dashing across the savannah, a salad clinging to his fine coat.



KATHY FISH lives in Colorado.  Her very short fictions have appeared in numerous publications, both online and in print.  Her story, "Shoebox", has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  Her stories will also be featured in forthcoming issues of Ink Pot, Cranky and Night Train.  Her story, "Eyes" made finalist in the Night Train Firebox Fiction contest.  She is Fiction Editor for the online literary magazine Smokelong Quarterly.