Kathy Fish’s Together We Can Bury It is so creative and beautifully written, it’s hard not to marvel at the richness in each of the pieces. Flash fiction can be very tricky and often comes across as bite-sized versions of actual stories. In Together We Can Bury It, every one of the flash fictions is meatily self-contained, enough so that you want more, yet leaves a haunting aftertaste. If there was a crystallography of flash fiction, you would find lyrical facets woven together to form polycrystalline themes. Ionically bonded by longing and desire, the bildungsroman was never so terse and yet so poignant. Much is connoted in the title’s “Together” which suggests cooperation to bridge a time of vulnerability from the burying. Burying what? Skeletons, traumas, regrets, all the things we strive against and wish to discard. Here are four text samples from four different stories that I loved, though there are so many more:
From “Wren”: “That night I dreamed that I had hammered together a home for Wren. She would live there forever, surrounded by a thousand bright blue butterflies. And she would emerge from time to time to smile at me from behind a window of cracked glass.”
From “Rodney and Chelsea”: “Two bunnies sit in opposite corners of Chelsea’s bedroom. One is missing an eye and one’s polka-dotted ear is nearly torn off. Rodney and Chelsea undress in a clinical manner and fold their clothes as if, together, they have decided to join the Army. Rodney has seen parts of Chelsea but never the whole and now he stands before her and reaches out to touch one tangerine. Unsure of what to do with her own hands, Chelsea simply places them on Rodney’s shoulders.”
From “Breathless”: “We have moved into this small rental because we are poor. I decorate it in bright colors and wild patterns to cheer us, but we’re in mourning. My daughter’s father, Rob, died of lung cancer last spring… Lately I dream I’m riding a bicycle at night, the moon and the stars shining on my back.”
From “Spaceman”: “Untethered, he waves to his ship as it cartwheels through space. As he, himself, cartwheels through space. He squinches his eyes shut. Jane would tell him not to be afraid, that this is an infinite universe and in an infinite universe all things are mathematically possible, even certain. And so he imagines his pretty girl, walking toward him on a boardwalk or even on Pluto or some star, a surfboard under her arm, saying see, Space Man? See?”
Together, we should read this. Together, we can see.