Fiction | Short Story

An Instrument of the Heart

Though Zya had been too young to recognize it as unusual, she could remember the first time Rania had washed her brain.

Nataizya was sure that her mother was outer-planetary; this was due distinctly to the fact that Rania washed her brain every week. When Zya was young, she used to watch her mother while standing on tiptoes at the edge of the sink. If Zya was well-behaved, Rania would lift Zya up and allow her to sit behind the faucet. Rania would then sweep back her long black hair, extend one hand to enable the faucet, and with the other, press her fingers against her own forehead to lift back her cranium, as though she were unlocking a jewelry box. She would gently tilt the prized possession out of her skull. She ran her brain under the cold water, which streamed down every pathway, then aired her brain to dry and placed it neatly back where it belonged, with her cranium closed firmly over it.


You were in India, weren’t you, not Europe. You were in Nigeria, the Congo, Iran.



It was unsafe, in fact, to feel so much. 

Like the inversion of me


She’s left out of my lifejust as she was left out of the planet

“There is music most people can’t hear, but like all of us gathered here, that’s not to say it doesn’t exist.”


What are you?


I’m not imagining it