Birgül Oğuz was born in İstanbul in 1981. She received her BA in Comparative Literature and MA in Cultural Studies from İstanbul Bilgi University. She was the recipient of the Hazel Heughan scholarship for the Modernism-Postmodernism programme at Edinburgh University in 2006.
She is the author of two short fiction books, Fasulyenin Bildiği (2007) and Hah (2012). Her short stories, essays, articles and translations have been published in Turkish literary magazines and newspapers including Varlık, Notos Öykü, Dünyanın Öyküsü, Roman Kahramanları, Remzi Kitap, Radikal Kitap, İzafi, Duvar, Parşömen, Birikim and Felsefe Logos.
In the winter of 2013, she was invited to be a writer-in-residence by quartier21 in MuseumsQuartier, Vienna. Currently, she is studying a PhD in English Literature at Boğaziçi University, and she lectures on text analysis and the European novel at Moda Sahnesi and Nazım Hikmet Academy in Istanbul.
Translated by Amy Spangler
'Your Soul of Salt' (pp. 29-30)
It was back in the days when I measured my weight by the teaspoon.
An incessant rain of chalk dust would weigh heavy on my eyelids. I never spoke on the way home. As the light of day bent, fading away, stitch by stitch the thread binding me to the world would come undone. One half of me would fall asleep, the other, silent.
At the knock-knock on the door in the evening, I would shake the dust from my eyelids and ask, “Who’s there?” That’s when father would enter. And with him, the drone of the world. And the drone of giant black turbines, the burble of acidic plaster, the noise of files and hammers, the smell of burnt oil and polyester, all of these would enter. He would enter, dragging his feet. I would grow up, knowing. I would take the saltpepperbread to the table.
When 'A Nation at Work' came on, ha-ha, right!, corns of wheat would fly across the screen, a potato dish would traverse the table and rice and pickles and tractors (you shouldn’t call the teacher “shit” sweetheart), it was a massive mess all over, bread crumbs, salt, threads, empty spools (God very well could have spoken to “noses” rather than “Moses” sweetheart, don’t be hard on yourself), when the plates were emptied we would gather the individual crumbs on the tips of our individual fingers, we could not let our eyes meet because the shame of being full would come between us, (but don’t let yourself get nailed to the wall like that again, okay, sweetheart, just keep the word proletariat to yourself), meanwhile the stomachs of right-wing chestnuts had already burst, having gorged themselves on the blood of workers, but the conquest of the sun was near, (you are the salt of the earth, don’t forget that), but there was no surge, just the limping likes of me with headline fonts on their butt, the noise of remembering was thick and had glued everyone to their homes, wheat rained down, as if snow falling but (to remember you have to forget, sweetheart, whatever you do, never forget), falling and falling, piling up on the middle of the table, three fingers thick, salt and snow were one and the same to our eyes, we would wait in respectful silence and before long he would come, Lenin, no taller than a salt shaker,