Fading Women

by Nazanin Soghrati

The women in my family have learned how to thread silence into the mercurial sky, how to press rust onto the heart-skin hemorrhage of their larynx. They have learned that their mouths were not built to speak, so they yell silently & pulverize their words into salt for the afternoon meal.

The women in my family have learned how to grow inwards, unspool the sinews from their muscles, hollow out their flesh & bleed continuously. At dinner tables, they sit in white shadows with their arms dog-eared & their lips sewn shut.

They have learned how to fade to preserve the glow of the men in my family.

The women in my family stare at Shiraz bottles & wonder how many sips their frail bodies deserve. They watch their husbands lick the glistening oil of freshly fried oysters off their fingers & curl their wine-stained lips with boisterous laughter. They listen to the noise ring through the air & turn copper-penny red.

At night, I watch my mother’s frame split two-fold to make room for my father’s rotund stomach.

I am silhouetted by so many shards.