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A Language Without Words

I. they say there exist languages without words without syllables yet pronounced, like the sharp clatter of fork and spoon and knife against each other at dinners in our family. a vase shattered to the floor last night at an hour way past our bedtime. sister and i know that only one room in the house is embellished with a vase on the first floor with a vase of red roses— ravishing over the edge; laden with sinister thorns under— but we’re vigilant not to cast a glance at mom or dad. just stare down at your food and gulp down the curry of guilt and fright. a vase shattered but we choose not to clean the floor. the broken fragments of glass aren’t ours to sort. instead, we slice the whetted tension with the clatter of fork and spoon and knife. II. there exist languages without words without alphabets yet comprehensible, like the silence we were doused in at dinner two weeks after granny vacated the premises of the little room on the ground floor with baby pink walls and a turmeric aroma. no clatter this time. from my peripheral vision, i espy a tear trickle down mom’s cheek. we sham it’s a raindrop lingering on her visage from the doleful stroll she took an hour back. sister and i look at each other every time the spoon visits our mouths. with furrowed eyebrows, we gulp down the curry of remorse and despair. dad’s eyes glare into zilch lifelessly like granny’s face lying on the soft pillow in her turmeric room before i had to ring up mom and break the news in words after which words evaporated; gulped down, refrained, pushed away. bite in your tears because unlike the sky, we were taught to sway our storms. III. in our household there are no syllables, no alphabets, no words. they say there exist languages without words and ours is silence. we could scream or lament or weep. but instead, we gulp it down in silence.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2022

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Book: Shattered Sighs