‘Fishtank’ by Bindu Bansinath

‘Fishtank’ is a story about systems. It’s hard to say more about it, in part because the story is so heartbreaking, but more so because of its elegance. Its economy. Several weeks after reading it I learned that was a teen when she wrote this, which makes that clarity of vision, her masterful absence of exposition, all the more moving. 

There’s something undeniable about each exhalation of this story, and in just over ten paragraphs its author manages to use that instrument of askance: a final scene that the reader doesn’t see coming, but is, of course, the only ending there could possibly be. 

First published in Smokelong Quarterly, September 2013, and available to read here