Originally published in Willow Springs 64
From the author
Notes on “The Waves Were Low”
This piece developed out of a set of prompt words: catfish, surgery, polo shirt, Elizabethan collar, and stitches. I think only a few of the words stayed after revision. “Catfish” was the word that prompted the guts of the story, reminding me of my days in Biloxi by the water, seeing kids catching catfish. I was trying to write a piece to complement “Labor.” I chose some of the same characters from “Labor” and put them in this setting. In this piece, I wanted the narrator to want something. In the end, I intended the rocking to soothe, sort of like the maternal hint of the fisherman’s wife as “as if she was a mother to all of us.” I wanted to imply, in the title, that this was a calm time compared to others, that the waves came and went. My biggest challenge is re-working the ending, trying to hit the right note.
Kim Chinquee resides in New York. Her work has appeared in Mississippi Review, South Carolina Review, Sou’wester, and many other publications. Her book, Oh Baby, was published by Ravenna Press in 2008. She also won a Pushcart Prize in 2007. Her collection, Pretty, is due out in April from White Pine Press.