Larissa Shmailo is an American poet, novelist, translator, and critic. Her poetry collections are Medusa’s Country, #specialcharacters, In Paran, the chapbook A Cure for Suicide, and the e-book Fib Sequence. Her latest novel is Sly Bang; her first is Patient Women. Shmailo’s work has appeared in Plume, the Brooklyn Rail, Fulcrum, the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, the Journal of Poetics Research, Drunken Boat, Barrow Street, and the anthologies Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters, Words for the Wedding, Contemporary Russian Poetry, Resist Much/Obey Little: Poems for the Inaugural, Verde que te quiero verde: Poems after Garcia Lorca, and many others. Shmailo is the original English-language translator of the world's first performance piece, Victory over the Sun by Alexei Kruchenych. Shmailo also edited the anthology Twenty-first Century Russian Poetry and has been a translator on the Russian Bible for the American Bible Society. Please see more about Shmailo at her website at www.larissashmailo.com and on Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larissa_Shmailo.
I have no genetic fitness. I did once: my genetic material was carried by my sister’s daughter, my godchild and niece, Irene, whom I raised and let down. She committed suicide at the age of 35. She was a psychiatrist who knew pharmacology well and a determined individual who said that if she were to kill herself, she would do it so that no one would know.
Nora heard Larissa as from a distance. “We are never alone,” she mumbled. “But Larissa, we are. It’s the nature of life, this loneliness. Kurt Cobain, David Foster Wallace, Primo Levi, suicides. All the suicides.”
We discover NORA masturbating on an expensive leather couch in a railroad apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The front door is barricaded by two chairs; a layer of broken glass covers the corridor to the main room. The apartment looks like someone has been smashing everything that can be broken or smashed, which, in fact, Nora has been doing.
The last thing I remember before coming to at Mt. Sinai was lying on my belly on the floor of my bedroom, surrounded by five cops, enormous from my vantage point. They talked among themselves and on their radios, ignoring me. Finally, they cuffed me behind my back; I begged them to tell me what I had done, but I was not worth a word.
I’ll return as Queen of Sheba, or a vampire, or a reiver,
or a saint who cures the nouveaux riches, a wondrous, wealthy soul.
Yes, you see, I’ve found my niche, to preach and prosper, marvelous goal!
(Pills I took just took their toll.)