Helen Ivory

Helen Ivory, poet and visual artist; sixth Bloodaxe Books collection Constructing a Witch (2024). Editor, webzine Ink Sweat and Tears; poetry tutor, UEA/WCN online; work translated into Polish, Ukrainian, Croatian, Spanish and Greek for Versopolis.

The Fainting Room

When they laced me tight this morning
my body split asunder.
Clouds heaved themselves across my eyes.
Nobody heard the crack of rib
or witnessed the small moth of my soul
slip from my mouth.
All day I felt the separation so keenly,
yet the household continued about me
as if unaltered.
When Nell came to dust the parlor,
I feared for my soul – my little ghost –
settled on the mantle.
At dinner, my soul watched from the wallpaper
as I raised the soup spoon to my lips –
there wasn’t space beneath my corset for a single bite.
I rose to reach my hand out
but her wings blurred ash.
I felt the table and the diners fall away.
I awoke inside this little room
to find the doctor had been summoned,
with his new, mechanized instrument.
My binding had been loosed,
the doctor applied the treatment
until a paroxysm possessed me.
I breathed deeply of the whole earth.
My soul flew into my open throat.
My husband dropped some coins into his hand.

Helen Ivory

from The Anatomical Venus, 2019, Bloodaxe Books.


Constructing a Witch, 2024, Bloodaxe Books
Wunderkammer: New and Selected Poems, 2023, MadHat Press (USA)
The Anatomical Venus, 2019, Bloodaxe Books
Maps of the Abandoned City, 2019, SurVision
Waiting for Bluebeard, 2013, Bloodaxe Books

Helen Ivory website
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