Donna Vorreyer

I Break the Ghost in Me Like a Wild Horse

Cautious, cautious                                                                     fearing an outburst of hooves
I approach with sugar                                                               a crust of bread, enough
to subdue her desire                                                      to attack

I stroke her grimy mane                                                                  she is unkempt, all field-musk
and quarrel                                                                    but soon her stance relaxes

many false starts until                                                   she allows me to lead her
we walk for miles                                                          past rotting tree trunks
past small cemeteries                                                    then return home

that night she dreams                                                    I scan the loaded shelves
books upon books                                                          all addressing the same questions

Why am I here?                                                                How can I be happy?

the next morning I sit                                                    astride her saddled back
braid her mane with roses                                              I whisper the rumors she spread
back into her ears                                                           as we near the cliffs

she spooks         her natural instinct                               swinging into overdrive
she wants to buck me                                                     into the canyon
but I know her secrets now                                            She responds to the reins

she takes the apple I proffer                                           no longer bites the hand


I Am Reminded Why I Love You in the Dark of Easter Island

In Hanga Roa, the sun doesn’t rise until after nine, night sleeping in silent fields.
I had almost forgotten how I used to lie awake in the blue-black attic, trying
to see my hands, praying for rain to drown out the tiger prowling my insides.

The stars are within my reach, and I show you the burns where I have touched them.
(The dark in Hanga Roa inks each twinkle into relief.) I lied when I said the stars are
within reach. I wanted to have grasped something holy, to have a reason for the scars.

In Hanga Roa, mammoth stone heads face the horizon each way I turn,
their bodies buried beneath the earth. There is always something hidden.
Them and me. My conscience always wearing the wrong shoes for the weather.

It is true that the ancients carved those heads by hand, teetered them across
the landscape from quarry to village, by sun and by starlight, blessing them by
setting in the eyes only when they reached their permanent homes.

I should thank you for blessing my star-strafed body.

I should thank you for giving me back my eyes.


My Work is My Body, My Body is My Work

Helena Almeida, Portuguese Painter/Photographer

my body           a monolith     a black cave carved by flesh
             never a face               never a whole

inside me          a window       a stepladder                 a stack
              of straw hats                           mirrors on the soles
of my feet

bending to pick up a handkerchief        hiking
              up one side of a black dress                            perched
on one stiletto

then feet bared  calves and ankles          cracked
                nails       wrapped in black wire some loose

my body     a snail        a black knot                            a hermit
    crab             one hand, two hands

my body in flight         on a table                        hair but no
             face    never a face                   bare feet cupped as

my body reflected          on a wet floor that I name
              tears       wavering         almost completely

Donna Vorreyer is the author of 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).

JD Thornton