Salted Wound

Leave a comment

October 2, 2017 by The Citron Review

by Mandy Shunnarah

 

We amble on a Dead Sea beach where in place of sand is crystalline salt, like piles of broken glass, like diamonds that have lost their shine. They cut all the same, and the tender arches of my feet, without the cloak of callouses, are sliced with each step. He curses me under his breath, not quietly enough.

During his railing minutes, I say nothing. Another lecture for the uncountable offenses I cause simply by being.

The beachcombers’ and sunbathers’ stares tell me: You shouldn’t let him talk to you like that. You need to leave him.

“Are you with a Birthright group?” the more curious among them ask, sensing our Americanness. There is no way to tell them we feel at home in a place prone to threat because we are about to implode. We don’t know how to explain this is supposed to be a vacation. He’s not even Jewish. And I’m half Palestinian.

I let him do the talking. He leaves that last part out.

I soak in the Dead Sea, everything but my face submerged, and will the salt: purge me of him.

I float, buoyed by the mineral that makes drowning impossible, and consider putting my head under, letting my eyes dissolve in their sockets. It would only take a moment to make real the blindness everyone tells me I already have.

A curly-haired toddler bespectacled in goggles splashes a few feet away. He swims without floaties, without worry. He doesn’t yet know all lakes are not as dedicated to keeping him alive as this one.

We are this place so battered with conflict. In the tunnels beneath ancient cities, in the playground bomb shelters painted like caterpillars and dragons, and in the mountains where soldiers watch with rifles poised, we grasp at something that is not there and has never been.

In the water where nothing can live, I see I cannot live with him.

Long after I emerge, the salt makes my open pores burn, all my shaved parts aflame. On our walk back to the kibbutz, I cauterize. Across the lake that masquerades as a sea, I wave goodbye to Jordan, knowing I bid farewell to more than this place.

That night I ask him if he ever really loved me. He turns away and pretends not to hear.

I smile at the ceiling, hoping he doesn’t see.

 

Mandy Shunnarah is a writer and book reviewer living in Columbus, Ohio. Her essays and reviews have been published in Entropy magazine, PANK, The Missing Slate, and New Southerner magazine. Her work is forthcoming in Fourth Genre and other publications. To read more, visit her website, offthebeatenshelf.com.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

🍋10th Anniversary

Fall 2019 IssueSeptember 23rd, 2019
68 days to go.

🍋 Instagram

We have some happy news to share! The Citron Review contributor Amye Archer has joined our Creative Nonfiction editorial team. Let's welcome her! Amye Archer - Author of Fat Girl, Skinny: A Memoir, and is the co-editor of If I Don't Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings. (Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., 2019). She holds an MFA from Wilkes University. Amye's work has been published in Scary Mommy, Longreads, Feminine Collective, Brevity, Marie Claire, and more. Amye is mom to twin daughters and wife to Tim. She lives in Northeast Pennsylvania. Follow her at @amyearcher https://citronreview.com/2019/03/20/one-week/ #briefliterature #cheerstotenyears #amreading #TheCitronReview #creativenonfiction
We're pleased to highlight creative nonfiction from Julie Watson. "Odds Are" is now available in our Summer Issue. https://citronreview.com/2019/06/21/odds-are/ #amreading #flashcnf #summerissue #cheersto10years
Anita Goveas, @raspberrybakewell, has fiction featured in our Summer Issue. https://citronreview.com/2019/06/21/coverings/ #amreading #flashfiction #summerissue #cheersto10years
New Flash Fiction from Mary Grimm, who has published a novel, Left to Themselves and a collection of stories, Stealing Time (which are both on Random House). She teaches fiction writing at Case Western Reserve University. https://citronreview.com/…/…/21/the-dream-of-her-long-dying/ #TheCitronReview #SummerIssue #Summer2019 #flashfiction #cheersto10years
Creative Nonfiction from our new Summer issue, "What About Me?" by Phyllis Reilly. https://citronreview.com/2019/06/21/what-about-me/ #TheCitronReview #SummerIssue #Summer2019 #flashcnf #cheersto10years
From our summer issue, "How Much Snow" by Erik Moellering. Erik Moellering teaches English at A-B Tech Community College in Asheville, NC, where he also performs in a variety of theatrical productions. https://citronreview.com/2019/06/21/how-much-snow/ #TheCitronReview #SummerIssue #CitronSix #Summer2019 #poetry #cheersto10years

Enter your email address to follow us and receive notifications of new issues by email.

%d bloggers like this: