‘Bodies of Water’ by Denise Heyl McEvoy

This is a slow burner, really blossoming for me on a second read, with some haunting and gorgeous turns of phrase. Beautifully and clearly observed, some lovely writing, and pleasingly eerie with the voices in the water. “Water desires water” – the personification of the water, trapped in a pool in the San Fernando valley is insinuating, haunting, and slightly sinister. The three family members’ separate consciousnesses are also explored: husband Eric, wife Lisa, an ex-dancer, and 13-year-old daughter, Camille, until an unexpected mini earthquake brings them together. By the end, it’s about desire and escape, solitude and connection, and it’s got some great lines: “With her family asleep, needing nothing from her, it is not possible for her to fall short. The burden of loving them feels lighter.”

First published in American Short Fiction, August 2022, and available to read here

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