Saturday, March 19, 2022

Introducting Theadora Siranian

Theadora Siranian is a poet and teacher currently living in Kazakhstan. Her poetry has appeared in Best New Poets, Ghost City Press, and Atticus Review, among others. In 2014, she 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. Her chapbook, She, was released by Seven Kitchens Press in May 2021. More of her work can be found at

Less the Rescue

The year I tried to trick grief
we stood in the airport
parking garage, smoking

cigarettes and staring at one
another, grief finally kissing 
me firmly on the mouth

before smiling knowingly
and heading for the stairwell.
In truth, it was the years

of waiting that kept me going,
M. warning me over 
the telephone as I stood naked, 

staring into a motel mirror:
beware the void, the void.
But that was only one of my

lives—each more lovely
and vicious than the previous,
each earth turning on its axis

adamantine, the standing waves
of endless oceans offering gifts 
below you must be willing

to drown to discover, wreckers
waiting at the shoreline for
the moment you lose your footing.

In one life I lost my freedom
to a man in a tent
staked to a barren hillside,

his fingers finding my hair
in the morning to toss me toward
his waiting truck.

In another I had sisters, three,
and each told a different
story of our conception.

The first claimed our mother loved
a bull, the second that our father
was a hypnotist who tricked

fairgoers into sex involving blood
rituals with the snake charmer’s 
python. The third sister told me

her version while I slept, and I can 
return to it only in dreams. Then,
a woman wearing a wedding 

dress makes love to me
in the grey dishwater waves
of some cold, abandoned shore.

Here, then, I know I’m not 
mad, to be so divided, to love
and loathe in equal parts like some 

ever-bending switch in the wind. 
She stands soaking and bedraggled
beneath the ferrous sky, no longer

looking at me, and walks away 
down the beach. I watch her go, slip
a stone under my tongue, a token

to ferry between this world and the waking.

Originally published in South Dakota Review, Fall 2019

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