Water and Blood
Julie Stewart — 2022
In Water and Blood, the nameless narrator, a survivor of abuse, tries on other women's stories like she is trying on their clothes. There is the nun who learns to swim decades after witnessing her biological sister's drowning in the Ohio River. The rape victim whose deathbed statement is interwoven with the imagined voice of the rapist. The young girl who is sent to stay with her alcoholic grandfather while her parents care for a sick child. Out of scraps of reclaimed history and imagined memories, the narrator creates a garment of women's stories for herself--overlapping the seams between fact and fiction, doing what women do: cleaning and restitching the wounds of trauma, making a life with the things that are left over after everyone else has taken what they need.