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Fifty of us, at a wedding

overflowing with sweet wine.

Our mothers tremble

behind the columns.

Fifty of us, our hands filled

with bread and dates.

Our knives tremble

in our sleeves.

Fifty of us, in darkened rooms,

our gowns slipping from our shoulders.

The curtains tremble

between the beds.

Fifty of us, placing sharpened knives

against our husbands' throats.

Our hands tremble

as we push bronze into skin.

Fifty of us, with roughened rope

tied tight around our necks.

The ropes tremble

as we fall.

Fifty of us, carrying water

in containers filled with holes.

The jugs tremble

in our tired arms.

Fifty of us, remembering

the way our husbands burned our homes.

The images tremble

in our shadowed minds.

Fifty of us, sold for gold

to the men who burned our homes.

The coins tremble

in our bloodstained hands.

Fifty of us, placing our mouths

against the dripping holes.

Our mouths tremble

removing all regret.

Mari Ness is a poet, writer, and scholar of fairy tales, whose work has previously appeared in multiple zines, including here in Strange Horizons. Her poetry novella, Through Immortal Shadows Singing, is available from Papaveria Press. For more, check out her occasionally updated webpage at, or follow her on Twitter at mari_ness.
Current Issue
17 Jan 2022

The land burns so hot and high tonight that Let can see its orange glow even from the heart of The City of Birds. It burns so thick she can taste the whole year’s growth of leaves and branches on her lips. It burns so fast she can almost hear the deer and cottontails scream as flames outrun them and devour them whole.
I writhe in bed with fever, chills, chatters and shivers. The near becomes far as the far comes close.
No one gets married before going to space.
Wednesday: Unity by Elly Bangs 
Friday: The Cabinet by Un-Su Kim, translated by Sean Lin Halbert 
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