July/Aug 2022 • Vol. XLIV No. 4 Fiction |

Abandon Ship

It was how they bellied up, the eyes milky in the silvered skin, the blood gills lined blue, it was how they were dying, all these fishes. Affectionate, the woman thought, how the fishes curved around each other, almost little children piled into bed. Anchovies, sardines, whatever, the fishes were stacked deep as a man’s arm along the docks of the marina. Nobody’s boat could budge in these thick waters. Good thing hers was a houseboat, going no place. Meanwhile, neighbors she hardly knew hollered across their bows theories about the millions of dead obstructing their pleasure cruising: red tide, some kind of suicide, or maybe a rotund tuna had frightened the fishes—they had taken refuge in the marina only to morph into mob suffocation. “Officially wrong,” said the Lung, who docked his cabin cruiser in the boat slip next to hers. “The algae in the marina are sucking up all the oxygen, not a breath left for the fishes.” The woman did not buy tidy explanations. Ther

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Photo of Mary Kuryla

Mary Kuryla’s collection Freak Weather Stories (University of Massachusetts Press, 2017) received the Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction. Her stories have appeared and are forthcoming in The Paris Review, Conjunctions, The Kenyon Review, AGNI, The Baffler, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and elsewhere. They have received the Pushcart Prize and the Glimmer Train Very Short Fiction Award. Her 2022 novel, Away to Stay (Regal House Publishing), was called “a delightfully quirky debut” by Publishers Weekly. Kuryla is currently at work on a collection of short stories.

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