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The words of Ron Rash successfully encompass multiple meanings, as artfully executed in “ChIMG_7271emistry.” By using water as central to the theme of this short story, a fluidity of intertwining relationships emerges. The basic necessity, simplified H20, provides a body in which elements of emotions, connections, heredity, and memories find sustenance.
Rash creates a sense of uncertainty that easily enters into the mind of the reader. His use of the simile “sudden as a nightmare” hints beyond the whiskers of the catfish and toward that of the unfathomable. The line “At supper he spoke excitedly of water’s other side” adds greater significance to Joel’s reflection of his father when he states,”…as my father disappeared off the dock toward mysteries I no longer wished to fathom.”
Through Rash’s deliberate articuAs Gentle as You Pleaselations and incorporation of religious context, an etheric plane also evolves in the reader’s consciousness. “There was nothing in this world to sustain him, so he had to look somewhere else.” ¬†South Mountain Reservoir may not have been ¬†where Cliffside Presbyterian held its baptismal services, but for the Pentecostal at heart, Mr. Hampton, it held his rapture.

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