ISSUE ELEVEN: Yes, Sell My Art | next poem →

Dammit Doll

Laryssa Wirstiuk

I have the toughness of talc. I’m easily scratched with a fingernail or the winter gust that dares push my thighs apart. If I have to spend one more goddamn season in zone four, I’ll simply continue my guise as a store clerk, though everyone knows I can build rockets. Three, two, one, contact. Shopping in Hallmark during the holidays, I return to summer conversations, strangers on Central Avenue: the man who interrupted my walk to examine my miniature dachshund and the woman who grabbed my elbow to emancipate me. “He’ll cast a spell on you,” she said, corralling me and my pet. “Voodoo.” For two weeks, she claimed, she had suffered a mysterious and incurable malady. In a basket among stocking stuffers are “Dammit Dolls,” a stitched stress-relief tool kids of all ages beat against the nearest surface. I admire metallic giraffe fabric, mohawk-thread hair, familiar polka dots, stripes, paisleys. They’re just durable enough to abuse and thresh without ruining. Are the store’s employees watching? I check. Then I release my grip from the doll’s neck, clench its feet like a hand bouquet, and slam it on the salt-covered carpet. Again, again, and again. Just say when.

Laryssa Wirstiuk is a poet and writer based in Los Angeles, CA, where she lives with her partner and miniature dachshund Charlotte Moo. Her writing has been published in Word Riot, Gargoyle Magazine, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, among other venues. You can view her portfolio here: and on Twitter @ryssiebee.

ISSUE ELEVEN: Yes, Sell My Art | next poem →

ISSUE ELEVEN: Yes, Sell My Art

Meghana Mysore
   Object Permanence

Candice Iloh
   Sexual Assault Survivor

Knar Gavin

Lori Anderson Moseman

Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad

Uche Ogbuji

Katherine Williams
   Math 345: Geometry of Solids

Taylor Napolsky
   A Naive Festive

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens
   Robot #15 (ornithology)

D.J. Parris

Laryssa Wirstiuk
   Dammit Doll

Merridawn Duckler
   Everything I Can’t Have in Luxe,
      Pacific Northwest Magazine of
      Interiors+Design, Spring 2016