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The Words

Updated: Nov 14, 2022

The morning the words left my body, I gathered up the pages, folded them up and packed them neatly into rows of cardboard boxes. My heart fell in too, cushioned between poems about my mother and his voice. I realized it was missing only after I’d sealed the boxes. There was nothing that could be done.

I sang myself to sleep that night, my voice heavy with sorrow and melancholy.

The next morning I woke up. Wrung Sorrow’s frail neck. Buried her in the cold earth, in a grave that I had dug with my bare hands. Took Melancholy to the river bank. Lured him into the depths. Held his head beneath the water until his gasps were silenced. Let him sink to the bottom.

I sang myself to sleep that night, my voice hollow and empty.

The night the words returned, I found myself holding a blade, everything I had vowed never to see again strewn around me. Lyrics lying on the rug, long letters bunched together and flung into a corner, epithets on the kitchen counter, whispers scattered all over the place, and the scent of decaying paper flooding my spirit.

I sang myself to sleep that night, my voice stained with nostalgia and drenched with realization. Although I was devastated when the words vacated my soul, I had been left with a sense of peace. Now that the words have come back, they have stolen my tranquility. They no longer fit into my mouth. They do not dissolve on my tongue. They are jagged, awkward; I am clumsy, confused. The words have begun to hate me just as much as I used to hate them.

About the author:

Humairaa Mayet is incredibly passionate about issues of social justice and strives to make a difference in the world through as many avenues as possible. She spends her days listening to music, cooking and baking, attending protests, and raising her plants.


Instagram: @toki.suke


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