Or, Virago ex machina, is native to far-flung lands, where the air is heavy with sweat. She is drawn to noise, mechanical, and to misery, female. Common habitats include buildings of industry where the walls sag, crumble, and threaten a return to earth.
Within the walls of such a building, women run machines. Cuts of cloth become things of beauty, destined for those richer and whiter. Amid clatter and clink, the factory siren weaves her song, threading together disparate melodies. A lullaby crooned to a sickly baby. A tune hummed while rinsing rice for the pot. A lament for the girls who must earn instead of learn.
In earlier times, a chime of four or more sirens would occupy a building and sing in unison. But studies show that Virago numbers are dwindling. Women no longer respond to siren song; the music does nothing to stop the hollowing of eyes and the emptying of hearts.
Sylvia Santiago is a writer whose creative process is best described as “fits and starts” and usually involves copious amounts of caffeine. Her work has appeared in Janus Literary, Gasher, Parentheses Journal and elsewhere. Find her on Twitter @sylviasays2
photo by Bundo Kim (via unsplash)