Jessica Blandford

Our Lie in Silence

“When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.” -Yevgeny Yevtushenko

She tries men on like shoes—a new pair for each season
until she finds one she wants to keep. She trades
pieces of herself like her mother taught her
until, when pressed together tightly, she fits perfectly
against him. He talks of them as if
it were destiny. It was not. She wants him to ask her,
will you marry me? He does, three weeks later
when he tells her, I love you.
She smiles,
but doesn’t say it back.

Her bridesmaids stand decoy as she lay in a field—
Shastas—a guise of innocence and purity.
The photographer snaps the image,
something to reminisce about later with friends
—if she manages to keep them.
She says, I love you now, but doesn’t speak
of other things. Her silence becomes the lie
that lies like gossamer lace
obscuring her face
as she walks
down the aisle.

Her father gives her
away. Her mother cries. Her grandmother
asks again if she loves him, suspicion in her eye.
Of course I do! They tell her she is lucky
she found the right man. She is reminded of pieces
lost, though she doesn’t miss them much,
not yet at least, and she wonders
if she will. Two becomes one
as she chips away
more of the things
that don’t quite

Like her favorite color, green,
or that she likes dogs more
than cats, or that, when it rains,
she thinks of the window seat
she would perch on and read at
at her first boyfriend’s house. Things
she used to think of as important,
until she met him. Things
she used to define herself by
until she put on his ring.
Now she goes by Mrs
to the master.

She still wants him to praise her like he does
the image of them above the mantle,
the same place the boar head hung
before the wedding.

Her white veil has grown tight.
The house shrinks
around her. They don’t talk
over dinner. She keeps opening her mouth to speak,
but silence
takes her voice.
She settles for a glass of wine
and a cigarette—wonders why they never had kids.

She goes to bed
alone and waits for the day
she will march with the corpse
of herself in his funeral procession.
She wants to lay with the bones
of their ancestors; speak with the woman
who came before, ask them
what their favorite color was
before they learned
just how to be.

Jessica Blandford graduated from the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte May of 2020. She was born and raised in the greater Grand Rapids area, where she still lives. When she isn’t writing Jessica can be found on her motorcycle. Jessica has two dogs Ryder and Jaxx. She often contributes to the Southern Review of Books and adjuncts for Grand Rapids Community College. Her work has appeared in Marathon Literacy Review, Honey Fire Literary Magazine, HYYPE Online, and Display Magazine. Jessica’s work focuses on the modern female perspective. Visit her page: or follow her on Twitter: @Jess_Blandford