Helen Vitoria









When no one is looking we float

          the unwet body into a vat

We touch the body with rusted hands, caress its neck

          feel its bones and sometimes they are singing

We can often mistake the body as beauty,

          as a blue pool, as faltering water

When the body is dreaming

          we say tremors

We try to control the body

          only to find it is filled with shadows

When the body is struggling

          we say the mind is playing dirty tricks

When the body leans into a twist, kneels to prayer

          we anoint the body,  we smear it with rose hips and fever

We say the body is alive with hair

          an oval vessel

When the body is quivering, we think it is overcome with desire

          a colossal instinct that is hollow

We see the bodies of women leaping

          and think they may as well be dead

We say the body is sugar

          we say it is a sweet dark animal



Originally appeared in Poets & Artists Magazine




In the Absence of Wings


One girl sits in the smallest chair at the smallest desk and catches rain that leaks from the ceiling on her tongue. One girl steals gestures from a wedding and pretends she is kissing a married man fifty different ways when she wakes up she finds that the man has rotted and floated downriver. One girl pretends the space around her neck is starlit, she runs her hands up and down and edge to edge and when she swallows the moon moves inside of her.  One girl clothes herself in boys’ clothes and punctures herself with a key till she figures out how to lock the door each night. One girl watches the boys make a bomb of birds and leaves until they have left fifty birds without feathers.One girl hides in the thicket of the closet till her bones ripen to sleep and waits for winter to come. One girl is a liar & says she loved you for six long hours sometimes in more than one time zone. One girl swallows the sharpest edges of things till she can fill the space of his absence.



Originally appeared in Hobart






all night, relentless song―


a maddening rush

his little lamenting piercing number


that reminds me

I am still alive


soon there will be a loud

whistling crescendo


along with an impressive trill

filled with native woodnotes


some final masterpiece

of solitude



Originally appeared Blue Fifth Review













Helen Vitoria’s work can be found in: Ping Pong Journal, The Awl, Rougarou, PANK, Pebble Lake Review, GRIST, Barn Owl Review and others. Her poems have been nominated for Best New Poets & the Pushcart Prize. Her poetry collection, Corn Exchange (Wild Chestnut Press, 2013) has been nominated for a 2014 IPPY Book Award and a 2014 Pinnacle Book Award. She edits THRUSH Poetry Journal & THRUSH Press.


Find her here: www.helenvitoria.com


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