a poetry e-zine










Poems By Donna Vorreyer

Peel them back
like orange rind, flake
them off like dead skin,

like dandruff, burn them
like tics or warts or dry
leaves. Erase them like

chalk, like pencil lines,
sweep them like dust
on furniture, like cobwebs

from high corners. Blow
them out like candles,
vacuum them like dust,

flick them away like flies.
Wipe them away like
fingerprints, toss them like

old newspapers, pull them
like weeds, like crabgrass.
Shelve them like antique

books, cage them behind
iron bars, bury them in
the backyard like seeds,

but don't tend them,
don't water them, don't
ever let them near the light.


For two years, I watched news stories about teens
abandoning newborns in dumpsters, fifty-something

grandmothers serving as surrogates, malnutritioned
Third World women wandering dirty streets with five

six seven children hanging on their thin arms, all of
them successful. I think I knew even before the blood

tests each week left me with tracks like a junkie,
before I choked down monster tablets of Clomid,

before long needles injected me with dye so I could
watch liquid shoot through my Fallopian tubes like

some twisted neon sign. So here in this sterile office
filled with plastic fetuses nestled in cutaway models

of wombs, I accept my failure as a female, my uterus
some abandoned storage cubicle. A lesser man

could not love something broken, but mine sits next
to me, knowing there is no blame, all his lovely sperm

condemned to swim forever in ardent, useless circles,
lost children searching, finding nowhere to root.


like dull razors scraping
at your wrists, never
breaking the skin – like
the hollow thump of a drum

like a thick root on a path
through the primeval dark-
like chalk of broken bricks –
like all you thought you would

be and are not – like the face
you have memorized and
could sketch perfectly if
only you knew how to draw.

Considering Lines

A single sheet of paper,
smoothed flat then creased
again, grows softer with
age, more pliable. Tender
fingers read then refold
the lover's poem, the last
goodbye, place it gently
in a back pocket or some
treasured cache of souvenirs.

I slather my skin with lotions,
try to smooth the lines that
etch my face. Like a child's
game of cat's cradle, my fingers
trace new patterns each day –
candles, diamonds, mangers –
over, under, side to side,
grasping at the loops of youth.

Donna Vorreyer lives and writes in the Chicago area where she spends her days trying to convince teenagers that words matter. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including New York Quarterly, Boxcar Poetry Review, DMQ Review, and Literary Mama.

Copyright 2008  Chantarelle's Notebook