Size / / /

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 worships chocolate, words, and music, in no particular order. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in Clarkesworld, Apex Magazine, Daily Science Fiction, Goblin Fruit, and previously at Strange Horizons, among other places. You can find a longer list of her work at, or follow her on Twitter at mari_ness.
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