Susan Slaviero lives and writes in a random place just outside of Chicago. She is the author of two chapbooks of poetry: An Introduction to the Archetypes (Shadowbox Press, 2008) and Apocrypha (Dancing Girl Press, 2009). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Flyway, Eclectica, Arsenic Lobster, Word for / Word, RHINO and elsewhere. She designs and co-edits the online literary journal, blossombones.
Our Lady of X-Ray Vision
sees a scattering of puncture wounds beneath a titanium shell [a mollusk, a painted lady] where debris gathers, or a knifetip might ricochet in empty sockets [gore, artiface] & dollies are legless & inert in their lipstick & pink dresses [slithering on jukebox bellies] & this is the sensation of music, methadone, mildewed velour in a storage attic [sepulcher] where angels with iron claws dream of cannibals gnawing rusted thighs, of men playing the xylophone with bare fingers [this is vital data] & each girl-part is a puzzle, an exponent, a detonator, a bitten witch.
Bloodformed letters on her collar
or siphoned ink, a red scent.
When she hallucinates, it’s the real thing—
motel-drifters, metalwomen smoking
long cigarettes in poolhalls with fermented
sailors. They are infosick, huffing
skulldust and mouthwash vapors.
The underpinnings of psychotic visions.
Nanobrain, hydraulic spine. The wheeze
of gears under fluorescent lights—
These lead ladies are tradpezoids, furrowed
flesh. The deadfall of microparticles
caught on film. Only the photo
is void. Burned at the margins.
A woman on the freeway steers
with an automated hook-hand.
She smiles, silver-fanged,
a twist of licorice in her lips.
She is the somnambulist’s symptom X.
Zeroes & Ones
Expression in algebraic tongues. To devise an empty bracket
as a signifier for “woman.” The data swollen with emboli
& spirals. A circular mask. Unshelled for your perusal.
A voyeur in hexadecimal. A phallic vessel, distended.
Pinprick subroutine. The candied eye behind dark glass.
To eviscerate a body. The cold hands of a machine.