“eviction,” by Evanthia Bromiley (Fiction ’19)

2019 fiction alum Evanthia Bromiley was recently published in the LEON Literary Review. Read an excerpt of “eviction,” a passage from a novel-in-progress, below:

an excerpt from junkyard lyric: a novel

To bed, their mother says.

But the walls of the trailer are thin and the night is sharp with broken things. Virginia and Evan stalk their scraped-empty bedroom, Virginia handstanding-up-against the wall, Evan hurling a rubber ball at the door over and over. The twins are amped. They want more noise, more smash.

To bed, their mother says from the door.

Lie with us! Lie with us, they clamor; they cling to her, her clothes her fingers, pulling her with them. They want their mother, to keep her tied to them. It is always this way. They want more of her than they can ever have, more than she can give, want her to fill them up and up, want her hands legs her big tight belly her neck where it meets her chin. When they were babies, Evan would reach for that spot and gather the skin between his fingers.

You keep that up you’re going to give me a double chin.

Jude Woods is young. Too young and too beautiful, their mother, more beautiful than all the other mothers, with her black black hair and her skin all crept over with ink. When Virginia is scared, (Virginia fears leaving, believes she might be left) when she feels night slam against the window, Evan holds her neck, there, too, at the place you find a heartbeat.

Lie with us, the twins say.

Someday, you’ll shed me like a husk.

No. Lie with us lie with us.

All right. Only for a minute.

The twins bounce into bed. Jude eases down careful because the baby. Everything stills. They play a game Virginia made up. It’s called Find Her, because the baby has a trick—she’s visible from outside, but at the same time she’s invisible, inside. She’s paddling around in there. Virginia imagines herself as a girl in a boat and the baby a fish, silver-slipping beneath them.

Readyornot? Evan shouts.

Their mother says, Shh … Ready.

Ready or not, they each slap a hand (careful, please) onto Mama’s body where the baby is, where that baby might be, and the magic is the baby answers, not just one time but every time. She’s on the other side of skin muscle water blood, but she knows they are there—We are here! thinks Virginia. We’re here.


Virginia holds her breath. Wait, she whispers. Wait—

The baby rises. All three of them feel the bulk of her, moving, choosing. Virginia squeals. Jude gasps. Evan smiles. The baby fits her tiny heel into the place Evan touches, heel to palm, half kick, half kiss. She chose you, their mother says to Evan, and kisses Virginia.

Now in the bed it’s warm and it’s good.

There is Evan’s smell, caliche, grass, and sun, and Virginia’s own smell, the one she can’t smell at all because it’s too close to her, and their mother’s, cinnamon and sour-milk. She and Evan tumble to fit, just-so, all sharp kneed-needing. 

When was the last time you two had a bath?

Uncertain, says Evan.

Last night, lies Virginia.

She takes them in, though, all their sharp angles, fingers jabbing into her warm body, and it is hard, suddenly, for Virginia to hold the secret. We’ll run away, she thinks.

Almost—but she bites the secret back. Instead she says,


Actually—maybe it’s both of them, says it. Sometimes there’s confusion, her thoughts and Evan’s tangle, and she isn’t sure what’s said out loud, what’s kept thinking between them.

Staystay, Mama.

I am, Jude says, I will, I’m right here.

Don’t leave.

I’d come back.

She’s told Virginia this before: The mother always comes back.

Read “eviction” in its entirety here: http://leonliteraryreview.com/issue-5-evanthia-bromiley/