Natural Language | Sofia Varino
Sofia Varino is a feminist writer and academic. Her interdisciplinary writing practice incorporates non-fiction, cultural theory, experimental narrative, performance, and digital media. She received an underground poet of the year award in 2002 from Hole Books, U.K. and her poetry has appeared in Poetry International, bad poetry quarterly, Community of Poets, and in the anthology Come Hear! Queer Women Poets, among many others. Her research has been published in the journals Women's Studies Quarterly and Feral Feminisms, and is forthcoming in Somatechnics. She directs the NYC Feminist Film Week series at Anthology and is associate director at Harmattan Theater, an environmental performance ensemble. She earned a Ph.D. in comparative literary & cultural studies from Stony Brook University in New York with a dissertation titled Vital Differences: Indeterminacy & the Biomedical Body and is currently a visiting researcher in gender & science at Humboldt Universität in Berlin. She is online at sofiavarino.com and tweets at @sofiavarino
When the call comes
To become otherworldly & leave
This homely body behind, bones
Brittle and yet too heavy to carry & skin
Dusty to the touch.
When the thought shapes hard
In your head like a knot
Of a growth so fast
You cannot keep up with it, dressed
As you are in these folds of flesh.
When something bright and warm
Comes to sit by your bed &
You know who it is but
Can't remember the name,
Want to touch it but cannot reach
Want to speak but nothing comes,
Want to look but can’t turn your head.
Can’t turn your head.
When the door closes & all
You can hear are whispers,
Scenes from reruns of that TV show
That kept you up late on Sunday nights.
When the thought gets long,
The call is loud and insistent.
Let yourself grow small and gooey.
A dot of cells, a sliver of skin,
A dollop of flesh, those smooth bones.
Drop every inch, one by one,
Unto the mattress, unspoiled, a gift to be found. Notice how
You have stopped breathing quite a while ago.
Collect your thoughts & count to ten.
Feel for nothing, open your heavy hand.
You no longer belong here or anywhere at all.
Let yourself go, let it all drop. That’s it, this is all for now.