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Searching for serenity

Illustration by Julia Ogden (

In The Wild Impossibility, a backyard pond, home to koi and watched over by a statue of the Virgin Mary, is a key location for the book’s protagonist, Kira. As a troubled teenager, a happy bride, a woman worrying about her mental health, she goes again and again to the edge of the pond, which holds memories both sweet and bitter and raises unanswerable questions.

In this scene, Kira is remembering a photo she'd seen of her mother, Rosa, posing next to the pond with the infant Kira in her arms.

"Kira stood beside the pond, her sneakers damp from the tall grass. A koi the length of her hand surfaced, flashing golden in the murky water. Ripples fragmented on lily pads and spiraled outward from orange-lipped kisses. The statue of the Virgin Mary peered out from her niche, looking serene despite the splash of bird poop on her pale blue cowl. Serenity, Kira thought. She could use some of that.
"She turned to face the house. In the […] photo, her mother was standing right here at the pond’s edge, baby on her hip, smiling at her husband, allure in her eyes. Vivacious and confident, with no sign of the darkness that Kira, as a child, a teen, a young woman, had seen in her. What had happened to Rosa that made her so unhappy?"

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