Donna Vorreyer is the author of the collections Every Love Story is an Apocalypse Story (Sundress Publications, 2016) and A House of Many Windows (Sundress, 2013) as well as eight chapbooks, most recently The Girl (Porkbelly Press, 2017).
Crossing State Lines
Insects collect on the windshield, ping as they explode,
death masks splatted in random rows.
Heat lightning blurs the humid air, the glare
of headlights fluttering with their ghosts.
I should sing them all a requiem, herky-jerk
a hallelujah, but I have miles to go. You know.
My own issues. Fever daughter, crater dweller,
creature of the great black hole.
I struggle to name the ache that godzillas its way
through the bright cities of my bones.
Voice tongue-stuck and swollen. Joints locked
in a genuflect. Arriving, I lean against a fender
and stretch, my shadow cast ahead of me
on unfamiliar streets, elongated, erasing the bulk
of me, so much kinder than my reflection. I flinch
as it enters the crosswalk; I call it back like a mother.
What is Left to Write About the Dying
Books full of papery hands,
light as feathers, the way they hover
without a place to land. And all
the crows and ravens, oil-slick
harbingers perched on posts
outside or bedside with a mother
who didn’t complain enough, a father
who tugs the air as if flying a kite
over a fence, its flight a metaphor
for how we all yearn, tethered to place.
For a whole life governed by desire.
In all the books, the sick
are noble, thorny crowns sharp
with suffering. How halos float above
their fevered brows. Pages full
of exhaustion and morphine and
oxygen. And after pouring over
so many volumes, looking for answers,
why do I begin? I have to try –
now the dying are mine.