Helen Vitoria


There is grace in a fully bloodied street
even the birds stay away, even the rain
A slow burning of skin−
You learn five ways to hold on to a door jamb for dear life
soon someone will open the corral gate, soon there will be no folding of hands
the fire bull will approach you and whisper in your ear: Run, for you are naked
a benediction for red waistbands and neckerchiefs will be the last thing you hear



                                    [adj] (br *m* l)
                            of, relating to, or occurring in winter.

Before the doctor, there were many doctors. I am known to press the rain. Funnel it onto the beach. Restless. I am muzzled voltage traveling in snow. Things I left in the snow in Brentwood: atriums filled with orchids, six blue veins and a needle inserted in my thigh. Then there is the wind, like a tongue on your tongue. So. I bargain and plead through every variation of death. Murmur with vanilla song. To wrap my legs around what is black and lonely. I dream of structures made with honey. Or honeycomb and wax. Listen. A sound is made when a cut is made into another cut until something in five languages crawls out of it. He made me smaller. Inside of me there are a thousand starlings stirring their iridescent wings. Come. Hear them lifting off.


Helen Vitoria’s work can be found and is forthcoming in: elimae, Ping•Pong Journal, Rougarou, PANK, Gargoyle, Barn Owl Review, and others. Her poems have been nominated for Best New Poets & the Pushcart Prize. She edits THRUSH Poetry Journal & THRUSH Press.