[Table of Contents]



Sirianna Helleloid


  She is a vacuum cleaner: 
she cleans the vacuums 
that the floors dirtied. 
She empties their bags. 
She claps her hands 
like air clapping back 
into a vacuum. Thunder 
of flesh & flesh. Her ions 
run wide. When dogs
come in from the storm 
they spray rain water.
Fur shoots out like hands
exiting a river. Her palms
itch with eczema. 
She only laughs
on the good days.
She calls her mother 
Sir & her father
a burnt coffee. // She looks like every painting, hair dangles her bits in a bathtub. She salts the coffee. A cubicle calls her, but she gives a bad number. She has her way with the copier. They slap her elbows with paper & call her witchbrew, call her broomstick handles, call her difficult. She walks out. She walks back in again. She walks in a circle that looks like a straight line. She becomes a wolverine so no one can tame the wildest tufts of her body. // She joins the march.                 
She hangs out in the tree 
of her youth. She grows 
a garden of curses.
She walks the length 
of a river on concrete. 
The matches she plays
with are unlit. The fire
comes from her elbows.
When the police come 
she gives them a snow 
job. When the cops 
come she tells them 
slow lies. When 
she is jealous of new
arrivals she becomes 
a bookie & all the dealers 
in the room watch
her hands fly.





This poem exists largely because I was playing with formatting options in google docs. I'd been experimenting with justifying poems & letting the line breaks (mostly) fall where they will. I like the clean look of a block of text with lines of exactly the same length; sometimes the overall visual of even lines winds up working better for me than a string of killer enjambments (& resulting visual unevenness) would. Using justification instead of left (or right) alignment led me to playing with the margins of poems; that landed me with a few poems that look like newspaper columns. From there, I started to think about different ways of laying out text to evoke other mediums. My first thoughts were using tables to replicate film reels & comic book pages. In the process of trying to make those work, I realized that I was actually making triptychs. There's something finicky, but satisfying with playing around with the presentation of the words in a word processing program, rather than the words themselves; it helps me step back & look at the whole, rather than get lost in the weeds of a specific line or image.