Issue 25 | Summer 2020

These So-Called Fixed Stars

We were lost and would have never known,
the trees bleeding sap like butchered animals,

a sticky feversweat pouring golden
and astringent as though leaking sunlight.

It was panic. We know that now.
The world giving itself up to us before

tearing us apart. Not mercy but warning.
Just as we understand that the soil turning

to acid was a farewell of sorts, the land
humming its earthquake timbre deep

below as the dust storms made spirals
along the freeways. Everything still

about us, allegory for our own suffering.
We were the ones to devise mercy, the notion

of intent. Look at us now with our bludgeoned
hands held like empty weapons to the stars.

At the bottom of the world rampant gorse
threatens the gorge’s failing light, a last

inhale of honey and tea tree. A windrow
of stoic poplars stands in an emptied field.

Below in the riverbed, something small enough
to be a child rises from the water, pale

and clayed with sulphur, arms outstretched
as though nailed to the sky.

Filed under: Poetry

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 Press, CONSEQUENCE magazine, Rust + Moth, 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. She currently lives and teaches in Kazakhstan. Her chapbook, She, will be published as part of the Seven Kitchens Press Rane Arroyo Chapbook Series this summer. More of her work can be found at