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SO THERE WAS THIS MYTH
BY C. NAMWALI SERPELL

So there was this myth going around about this woman who went deaf because she lay down on the ground and cried. There was a broken rhythm to her sobbing, like a scratched record; her eyes were wet and shut and seeing nothing. She couldnít lift her head, burdened with the heaviness of grief and with the salt water ceaselessly flowing from her as though a saltwater spring were beneath her head, soaking into hair tangled with the clutching of fingers, seeping upward into her skull and pouring out of her eyes, dripping down the sides of her face into her ears. The tears cradled in her ears sunk down slowly, trickling into the tunnels of her face, coating her sinuses with thick liquid. When the liquid had evaporated, the salt remained, caked her ears, lined the inner membranes of her face. She would sneeze white clouds of salty dust later. Her ear drums were cushioned with snowy flakes that muffled every sound. And so, like that, she went deaf. Then, her eyelids, squeezed so close together with the swelling and the sleeping, began to congeal. Eventually the tips of her bottom lashes grew into the thin skin of her quivering eyelids and the tips of her top lashes dove down in slow motion into the pores of the swollen purplish flesh under her eyes (overripe plums hanging, bursting with their incongrously clear juice). Each eye was bound shut inside a cage of lid and lash. Later you could see each eye struggling inside, darting left and right, like a small creature trapped in the mouth of a venus flytrap. Eventually, she lost her voice, too. As she slept, the words she would have spoken clung to each other, consonants digging their serifs into the fleshy open spaces of the vowels until one mass of what could have been a thought, or perhaps a feeling, sat balled up in her throat. She had an Adamís apple of unspoken words. And one day, she stopped crying, sat up, and spent the rest of her life deaf, dumb, and blind. Like she had punished herself. But really she had punished everyone else. 

[Forever after at http://eyeshot.net/serpell.html

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