The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: She by Theadora Siranian

This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from She by Theadora Siranian, released by Seven Kitchens Press in 2021.

My Unconscious Contemplates My Mother’s Disease

Tonight it’s the laundry orderly in love with her,
his fingers folding over her forearm

when I find them. The doctors float down
endlessly windowed corridors like waterborne

swans, murmuring radiation like a prayer. Beneath
his hands her skin peels away as if eggshell, thin

encasement of some small, trembling bird.
And the light, it’s everywhere—the world

of death and decay is bathed in white, bright warmth,
just as they promised. In the ceaseless light

I know this is a dream, but in knowing, I still can’t get
what I want. God forbid she should have a disease

with a goddamn name. When I kill the orderly, split
his head down the middle, skull separating easily

as soft cheese sliced by wire, nothing changes.
Everything is lovely and horrible. The doctors drift by

singsonging radiation, radiation, radiation.

Theadora Siranian is a graduate of the MFA Program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her poetry has appeared in Best New Poets, Ghost City Review, Rust + Moth, and Atticus Review, among others. In 2013, she was a finalist for The Poet’s Billow Pangaea Prize, and in 2014 was shortlisted for both the Mississippi Review Prize and Southword’s Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize. In 2019, Theadora received the Emerging Woman Poet Honor from Small Orange Journal. She currently lives and teaches at Nazarbayev University in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, where she is also a poetry editor for Angime, the first trilingual literary journal in the country.


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