Thursday, June 17, 2010

The World in Miniature: The Fishing Garden

by Janet Cincurak

The Fishing Garden

Sitting on the edge of winter and the cold is melting out of the garden. Skeletons of flowers sticking up out of the earth or smashed flat from wind and snow. And I sit holding my piece of a broken branch just above the black, dyed wood chips. Sit upon a smooth grey-blue stone and play at fishing. “Mama, I’ve got one, it’s a whale, a little whale.” And my little girl sits on her own rock holding a stick, trying to show me her whale, while my son calls out from another stone, “I’ve caught an octopus.” And I pretend to catch a fish too.

Sitting on my rock in a sea of wood chips, trying to fish and stop worrying about the pressure in my bum and the blood that keeps flowing then clotting then flowing again and has currently stopped. But for how long. And now I know it’s the clots that are stopping up the blood. “Mama, you’ve caught a fish.” I pretend to reel in my catch as I stare at the stumps of wood that fence the garden. The snow hugging the stumps.

And a day later or a week. In the dead garden again, with my warm children running in the yard, I sit on the cold blue-grey stone, barren. The bloodied toilet, the ambulance and emergency room and IVs, the OR and post op and semi-private room with the woman coughing, are all gone. And so is the baby. I sit on the rock and empty-armed wipe the wet from my eyes.


JustineDell said...

I'm a sensitive person. It never fails - I always read the beginning of these flash fiction stories thinking, "What a nice picture they've painted, or what a wonderful beginning." Only to be crushed by the time I reach the end.

It's not a bad thing, mind you. It's a glorious and powerful thing to be able to do that in 500 words or less. This story is no different.

I do believe it's my favorite thus far. Nice job!

Matthew Rush said...

Beautifully written Janet, thanks so much for sharing. This story is of course tragic and heart-rending, but being so beautifully written does make it shine in another way.

As a man I can only imagine that despair, but you've made it a little easier to empathize by describing it so vividly, so succinctly.

Thanks for these as always Ink.

Mira said...

Some truly wonderful phrasing and imagery here. I caught my breath at the skill of the second paragraph in particular.

Very talented writer. Very talented.

Also - hope this isn't too personal - but if this is autobiographical - I'm so sorry.

Mira said...

I need a stronger emphasis. VERY talented.

Janet Cincurak said...

Thank you to everyone who read the story. My heartfelt thanks to those who left such kind and beautiful remarks.

In answer to Mira's query, yes, the story is autobiographical.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

So heart wrenchingly sad. I'm sorry, Janet. But thank you for sharing this. The contrast between the loss and the playing children is so poignant. Makes my heart weep.

Mira said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mira said...


I'm truly very sorry for your loss.

As you're ready, I also hope you share more of beautiful your writing.

Janet Cincurak said...

Thank you Mira. And thank you all again for your generous comments.

Mira said...

Janet - absolutely. Sincerely meant.

Anonymous said...


This was truly a beautiful memorial. I know that this still must be a lingering pain for you. You will both be in my prayers.

David McCarron