Sana Mufti
Sana Mufti has published short stories in Overheard MagazineDreamer’s Magazine, and was selected to present “Mr. Politician” at the Sigma Tau Delta English Convention (2020). She has also published a few of her poems in various magazines including the Eunoia Review among others. Sana loves experimenting with language and style. She comments on the personal struggle of defining the self and finding stability in a constantly changing world.
All Good Things Die on Tuesday

Not Monday, like you’d suppose so. Or even a Sunday, although
Daddy tied a noose to the spinning fan during the weekend
mourning period. But he never tipped the stool. He simply
peeked in and then out of the circle, up and then down, loosened 
his tie and then went to bed. The noose swung around like a whip
for a couple more days before it flung off cause the wind got too strong;
it hit the window with a thud and then fell to the ground, all knotted
and deformed. But Daddy didn’t die, no, it was brother instead
who chewed a few too many cigarettes and pills before bed-time;
and then mammy forgot to switch the stove off, so it burned all night,
but good things only die on Tuesday, so we had to wait another week
of crows flinging their feathered bodies like onyx stones against
the window till they stained ruby red. “Better weather coming,”
said the newscaster on the TV that was a few decades too old; it was true,
the storms subsided into summer season, but then the wildfires came.
Sister grabbed religion and fled to the basement where the tornado
tails faded into rough rumours: she never came back up because 
the earthquakes got her—caused by a gas leak— left her all mangled 
and mutated into dirt. So then Daddy and mammy were left 
all alone at the kitchen table during the Dark Days, listening 
to the radio with one good ear—the other was torn off—mammy lost 
hers to loose debris and Daddy had his sliced off by her grieving 
claw—but anyways, all the radio would say was static and the
alternative “Stay indoors. Stay safe.” although, safe from what,
we never really knew. Daddy said that work never left, and he
took up nights on his laptop, on the right side of the couch, typing 
away while people died, and the noose was left discarded 
right underneath him, completely
forgotten. Then Tuesday came again but it felt like Monday, 
and besides, I wasn’t ready yet to leave, even though they told me 
“It’s softer on the other side” but they never told me 
the other side of what. I left them to it, the Great
Conversation, as they picked old potatoes and drank milk from 
rusting cans: “She’s better off with them,” they’d announce
every few minutes like a new thought, “with her siblings.” Mammy
would slice her poh-tay-toe all neat and straight, meanwhile Daddy 
would gnaw straight into its flesh—but then, Daddy stopped eating
and so did Mammy—and then somehow the apocalypse arrived again
in the shape of odd colds and sore throats—when Tuesday arrived,
Mammy was sure one of us would drop dead. But we were
resilient cockroaches; “goddamn, I’m too old,” Mammy would grumble,
hefting her heavy skeleton up the stairs, “to be begging for death.”
“Then, go.” I’d tell her, and she’d just roll her eyes. But on Monday, she broke
the cycle and swallowed fifty sleeping pills all at once. In the morning
Daddy woke to a cold hard stone; Mammy’s pointing finger
was a paintbrush raised to the popcorn ceiling, and the windows 
were stippled red. “She couldn’t wait for me, now could she?” he 
snapped over cold eggs, “She just had to go follow her dreams.”
“Why are you still here?” I asked, but 
the locusts were multiplying in my ears, so all I could hear 
was the angry buzzing. He mouthed a word or two, but it didn’t 
matter. And then, Wednesday came,
so he returned to work dressed in blue while I skipped stones over
my brother and sister’s graves. Everything is backwards
on the green, mowed lawn. Even my feet. I throw yellow stones
onto grey engraved ones. “What is so special, anyways,” I mutter
to the cold, dead air, “about sleeping?” But they aren’t sleeping,
I know. And, besides, I’m speaking up
to the air, not the ground. They can’t even respond, or turn 
to tell me off, or to explain. So, tell me 
what’s the point of it all, dying for the sake of something else? 
When I throw the next rock, my sister’s stone cracks like an eggshell, 
and it takes my accusatory finger
with it. Slices it clean, right through the bone. Four fingers and a toothy knuckle
joint, splattered with loose nerves. “Thanks a lot,” I seethe but it is more about
loss of direction than it is loss of ligament.
On the other side of the grave, there are no crows, 
only cardinals and blue jays, so death
must be lighter than whatever this is, I pick at my skin, waiting
to be unburied. But then the sun shuts its eyes for a bit, and I have
to walk home in the dark, light as a shadow, without a pointing finger.
I get lost twice on the way back, and by the time I reach home,
Daddy is talking about cutting
ties and mammy is a contorted body in an uneven box by his feet
ready to be buried. “She wasn’t fitting,” he confesses, red-handed,
twisting his blushing knuckles till they turn white, “so I had to
cut her down.” It concerns me 
that his words do not cause me much concern at all,
or that I can’t see anything except for her empty eye sockets,
“But, where are her eyes?” And Daddy doesn’t
know where to look as he tells me: “I couldn’t stand
her watching me.” I know what he means; death does not
look pretty on either side. Or in a box. I chuckle, the only reasonable response
to feeling a little bit like a Russian doll, all stacked up 
in thin layers of one life over the other, or one death over the other,
I really can’t tell the difference anymore. “When do we go?” I ask
instead of, “Do we have to go?” He shakes his head, trying
to remember where he placed the lid. “No, baby,” he pulls
at his hair, “we don’t go.” “Why not?” ‘Cause I miss
Mammy. Daddy spots the cover by the sofa and pulls it over
to the box. He heaves it over the top edge of the box so that Mammy
is half-covered; face-first, so we don’t have to look at her longer.
But Mammy fights back, or the box does, just at the top-edge where I
can still see her pale forehead, and her middle-finger, hooking down
towards herself, or hell, who knows? “Oh hell,” Daddy mutters, yanking
at a rope from inside the box, “she tried to take it with her.” He pulls out
the noose, looking surprised that it held so well, and Mammy’s ring
finger clicks as the bone snaps—or maybe it’s just wood—as Daddy
pulls and pulls. Then, Daddy is holding the necklace around his
face like a frame, peering through, looking at me, and Mammy is gone. 
“Why not?” I ask again impatiently. And, perhaps it is the sight
of me with my shoulders held to my ears and my fists swaying 
by my side that he slides forward around the box to place the rope 
over my head, first as a crown and then around my neck 
where it hangs down and encircles my breasts. He gages
the image, unimpressed. He leans towards me so that his cold fingers
grab a hold of the knot which lies limply near my belly. He pulls until the neck-
lace is taut. “We won’t survive that kind of death, baby.” The noose hangs
around my neck like a tie, with the long end string rippling down to my knees. 
He steps back and smiles, already forgetting about the box
or the twist-tied Ziploc bags of eyes, or the stones, or the red on the windows;
he stares at me like some opposite god or reflection—in the end, it’s all the same—
and takes the heartbeat in our chests as a sign of divine fate rather 
than condemnation. He will remember tomorrow. He will want to go again.
But I never know whether I was saved or kept for safe-keeping. 

Home    About    Subscribe    Guidelines   Submit   Exclusives   West End    

©2023 Iron Oak Editions LLC
Stay Connected to Our Literary Community.  Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Image by SHTTEFAN from Unsplash