Women Talking

Imola Eva Zsitva


For Holly & her family

though I am silent, I have much on my mind, like
how much I love mum but hate eggs.
I spit but I don’t mean it.
not in that way anyway, except
with that grumpy man on the train who deserved it:
to have his suit covered with my breakfast
of eggs.
eggs for breakfast, eggs for lunch, eggs for dinner.
eggs with kale. eggs with broccoli. eggs with smoked salmon:
this is how much mum loves me.
she smiles and shoves them in my mouth
with such excitement,
as if having a girl like me was the best thing that could have happened
to her.
I sit, but I dream of walking. walking out of this chair and into the garden,
skip down the street and run, run away
to the beach, even if it is beyond my reach, but
there is no harm in dreaming.
dreaming of spinning, dreaming of dancing, dreaming of talking.
I am silent, but not without thought.
I see and remember everything:
the kookaburra’s laughter in the morning
the taste of sand in my mouth
the ocean tickling my toes
shampoo running down my eyes, and your
I am silent, but not without love.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

"Women Talking" by Imola Eva Zsitva is a series of three poems addressing possible relationships between women and their own voices. Considering conflicts of age and language amongst other themes, Zsitva both amplifies the female voice while bringing stark awareness to its constant silencing.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Yolk began as an electric conversation around a picnic table in Saint Henri Square.

Our scruffy pioneer and present prose editor had previously approached each of us with an idea, a vision: We would establish our own literary magazine in Montreal. And so it was, or so it would be. After that original encounter, eight individuals devoted to the word resolved that they would gather bi-weekly, on Sundays, and bring something new into this busy, manic world—something that might slow its spin down somewhat and cause its patronage to say: “You know what, it ain’t so bad, is it, Susan?”

We are undergraduate, graduate, and graduated students of writing. Some of us learn our craft formally from accomplished authors in seminar courses, and some of us learn by looking out the window of the world and onto the streets that sing below. Some of us learn from screaming squirrels, old curtains, departed grandfathers, and bowel movements. We learn from old lovers, long winters, imperfect mothers, and from the deep internet where a musical genius remains entombed.

Yolk is cold floors on Sabbath mornings, home-brewed ginger beer in the endless afternoon, and downpours of French-pressed coffee in assorted artisanal mugs. Our first official gathering was scheduled for a duration of two hours; most of us remained for six, departing only to attend to the summons of our own beckoning realities. Together, with time suspended, we talked endlessly of contributing something to disrupt Montreal’s literary ecosystem. Something unparalleled, something true.

But what? There was nothing to discuss. There was everything to discuss.

We volunteer our time, hounding some elusive beast composed of combustible words and works. We are hopeful, truly hopeful, that we can give something new, a new way, a new light, and that if we cannot, we might at least uphold the traditions of our predecessors, cast star-wide nets to capture their echoes. We are a thousand decisions. We are a sanctuary for the orphaned word, the solitary writer, the cereal-eating artist who yearns for company, for the comfort of a like mind; we sit together with them at foggy dawn, it rains a baptism, with our arms and hands intertwined, we form an umbrella—underneath, they scribble madly, the perfect picture.

Yolk in no way presumes to be superior to its contemporaries, but its contemporaries should not presume yolk to be anything other than loud—quite, quite loud. We are yippidy jazzed to address the oh-so-technicolorful magnificence of the human experience, but we are prepared also to address the ugliness, to stare at its wet, hairy snout and into its square depth and to roar in return at the things that yearn to devour our skin, beset our ethos, and dig graves in our own backyards.

There’s so much to say, there’s so much we don’t know, but together, with you, we can placate that ignorance, render it peaceful, tolerable, and perhaps even, fucking beautiful.

And Susan says, “Amen.”


Mi chiamo Ana. Sposata. Piacere.
I gaze at the class behind my occhiali da sole,
I swallow Italian parola per parola
and overdose on felicità.

Behind my occhiali da sole,
I see la vita in rosa; sono felicissima.
farmacia, macellaio, cucina e bagno.  
sounds bellissimo in Italiano.

Lei una bravissima studentessa
says the teacher and rewards me with an A+.
Your vagina smells of aglio, says my husband 
before he abbatte my testa against il muro 

and orders me to stop with all that apprendimento sciocco.
Subito, subito
, principe azzurro, here I go, ti preparo la colazione 
which is different from fare la colazione – 
that I prefer having sola, in pace.

Remember, an egg is uovo, maschile
but eggs in plurale are uova, femminile.
, femminile, but so is violenza and depressione.
is maschile.

Italian will save me.

Mio marito sarà la morte di me

Che cosa hai fatto ieri sera?
asks my teacher.
C'è la guerra a casa mia
, but I don’t say that
Instead, I tell a piccola bugia bianca— 
I watched a film with my husband.

Imparare l'italiano è facile

I say with acento tonico on the ‘a’
and smile behind my occhiali da sole.
Mi chiamo Ana. Sposata. Piacere.


My mind is full of filthy thoughts. 
Unzip your trousers. 
I’ll be your whore, your mistress, your chambermaid, 
your naughty little fuckbird. 
I am no woman of verse, but I know how to touch you. 
There are things I know better than you, my skillful tenor. 
Your mind gets in the way 
of your hands 
second guessing your instinct. 
You say
you are done with God, but 
your fumbles are prayers seeking approval.
I’ll ride you up and down. Fuck up, love! Fuck up, love! 
Bugger me with your prick, lick my horny red cunt. 
Lie with me, heads and tails. 
Fuck me hard, come on my face.

Are you done? 
Have I been dirty enough? 
I did as you asked of me, now clean up and listen. 
My darling, you have an obsession.
It was a hand job for Christ’s sake, let it go. 
I would have never done it, had I known 
that years after I slid my hand down inside your trousers, 
and you, 
fast and eager, 
came through my fingers, 
would hope to write a masterpiece about it. 
Stick to music. 
I don’t wish to see my life deconstructed in your pages. 

And just so you know, I said I didn’t frig him 
but I did. And yes I said yes I will yes.

A graduate of Concordia University’s Creative Writing Program and The Royal Court Young Writers Programme (UK), Imola Eva Zsitva writes plays, screenplays, poems and prose in the six languages she speaks (so far). She has recently completed her first novel “Love Bombing: A Mirage in Text Messages” and is working on a Dante-inspired play in Italian.

Products from this story

No items found.

Additional reading

Sicilian Blue

Age of the Machine

Beyond Control