Donna Vorreyer

Advice For All The Daughters
I Do Not Have

Somewhere there is a man who wants
to break you, wants to blame you, one

who will use a bottle or a quarrel as excuse,
who will not care that your name is precious

in your father’s mouth or that your bones
are sugar-spun, stardust laced with centuries,

that your body is a temple where you are
the sole worshipper and goddess in one.

This man thinks your life is no more than
a slate he gets to write his name on then erase.

I wish I could tell you that the world is yours,
that all doors hinge open, all roads lay ready

at your feet, that you can love without fear,
but I can’t. Not if I want you to live.

Instead I say be vigilant, put on the teapot, turn
the deadbolt right. I tell you, you will walk a ledge

each time you greet the sky–may you navigate
goat-footed, hugging the rough brick tight.


53 With A Bullet

“Yeah, we do this shit together, man, no fists, no fights.” – Frank Turner


Too old for the shoulder to shoulder, the unfamiliar breath
on my neck, the shove and tumble of the jumping, I hang
behind the pit, to the side, nodding my head,

punching the air and screaming the words, the ones that
I remember, my body responding in whatever ways
it still can, the rat-a-tat bass slapping my boot soles,

the hardcore kids dismissive as I stomp and flail with
two bad knees and a hip that always aches, my hair
gray enough to pass for blond in this light,

and then a shift –I am no longer alone, a black hole
swallowing time and leaving only our spirits which
have no age, no expirations, and now

we are whole, united by sweat and abandon, our little
differences erased by the backbeat, the fallen lifted,
the lifted carried, the carried returned.


Donna Vorreyer is the author of Every Love Story is an Apocalypse Story (Sundress Publications, 2016) and A House of Many Windows (Sundress Publications, 2013) as well as seven chapbooks, most recently Encantado, a collaboration with artist Matt Kish from Redbird Chapbooks and Tinder, Smolder, Bones, and Snow from dancing girl press. She serves as the reviews editor for Stirring: A Literary Collection and teaches middle school in the suburbs of Chicago.