Donna Vorreyer – poems
Sister Helen had a rule – she would not let me out of homeroom at the end of the day until my boyfriend got out of his car, pasted on his best smile, and waved at the near-sighted nun as she leaned out the second story window to wave back. This, she said, was her blessing.
She did this to all our boyfriends. Sometimes she taunted them, motioned them to turn in a circle or flex their muscles. She spied in them the eyes of boys from her own youth, a familiar curve of lip or hip that still haunts her sleep. I could tell she used to play the boys this well, make them jump through hoops and dance for her delight.
Then she did it for me, she said, insisted she could tell whether they were good or bad, so I had better pay attention. We stood side-by-side one afternoon, waited for Eddie to exit his Monte Carlo. With his best posture, he signaled from the street. She refused to wave back, her blessing withheld. This is a new one, she said.
What’s that on his arm? I explained the tradition, the tattoo every boy in his family got at eighteen, a wolf, his last name, Nothing bad, Sister. She flipped him a dismissing wave, her eyes saying Beware – beware, Little Red, of the wolf snarling at the door, telling you what big eyes you have, ogling your goodies, the sweet flesh of your throat.
(originally published in Caesura, 2012)
Read by Donna Vorreyer:download audio
Read by Nic Sebastian:download audio
Who do you think orders the hours,
night ever following morning, cycle
primordial repeating despite pain
weariness, or fear? Every day is exactly
the same, polishing sunspots, fluffing
cumulus, spinning cirrus, the sky
a relentless master and, servant that
I am, hands worked raw as meat,
I cannot stop. Dusk brings new duties,
umber and aubergine, a dimming of all
the brightness I slaved to scrub into day.
Then the night, a frantic inking in broad
strokes, pasting pricks of pristine light
just so sailors can find home and children
can whisper wishes. The world slumbers –
I simply pause. Soon I will begin folding
stars, their crisp edges shredding me
into red ribbons that bleed another dawn.
(Originally published in Cider Press Review, 2009)
back to top
Video remix by Nic Sebastian
Dear Sci-Fi Fans; Love, The Future
There are no flying cars, no machines
to cure your illness, brush your teeth.
There are no aliens with menacing brows,
no teleportation, no fitted jumpsuits
or silvery capes. You have it all wrong.
We still have blue jeans, gas stations,
fast food franchises. We still don’t know
what love means or freedom or truth.
We still complain about how hard we work,
how little we earn, still hurt each other
in ways both large and small. And yet
you had one thing right. We are still
enamored with the stars, still wish
on the sky for a better someday even
though we know it will disappoint us
as surely as this letter has disappointed you.
He once said, This is what I feel when
I see a naked woman, his chisel reducing
all things swollen and sensuous to scab
and burnished ash. How his wife
must have struggled to forget this as
she pressed her curves into his angles,
longing for softness, for his hand
to trace the sway of her waist, to carve
the waves of her hips. She offered her lips,
her flesh, full with the sweetness of ripe
pears. His eyes whittled her to slivers,
his pieces all gnawed to the seeded core.
(Originally published in Weave, 2012)
Donna Vorreyer is the author of A House of Many Windows published by Sundress Publications in 2013. She is also the author of four chapbooks: The Imagined Life of the Pioneer Wife (Red Bird Chapbooks), Womb/Seed/Fruit (Finishing Line Press), Come Out, Virginia (Naked Mannekin Press), and Ordering the Hours (Maverick Duck Press). She is a poetry editor for Mixed Fruit, and her work has appeared in many journals, recently in Sweet, Linebreak, Rhino, Cider Press Review, Stirring, and Wicked Alice. Donna lives in the Chicago area where she teaches middle school and therefore often acts like she is twelve years old. Donna blogs at Put Words Together, Make Meaning