Donna Vorreyer

Love Song with Thorns

using end rhymes from stanzas 1,2, 8 and 9 of Amy Lowell's Pickthorn Manor

And here, another day
to inventory—one sun; one sky, blue.
I tuck the hours away
in my pocket. They burn through
as my body sways and shifts.
They harden into gems,
shimmering and sharp,
then morph to tulips, stems
flush with green. The scene drifts:
backdrop of stars, great rifts
in the Milky Way. A time warp.

I walk the same path
over and over. Lilac breeze
cuts a wide and quiet swath
through trees. No please
or thank you, pleasantries aside,
just the deer who start and frown
at my invasion. The birches, two
pale legs beneath a green gown.
But something stabs my side—
the thorns. Though I have tried
to evade them, I never do.

Here again, another day: eyes ringed
grey and swollen. The safety blade
catches and nicks the skin, blood-winged
and tender. Too long in the shade,
my body seeks your touch, your light,
the familiar salvation of our
instead of the terrible my. Each rod
and cone of your gaze reflects care.
Returns on your devotion are slight—
me the damsel, the lid shut tight.
Me the wayward calf, you, the prod

to bring me home. Out beyond
these walls, so little I do
matters. My moods correspond
to weather, how hard my ghosts threw
their weight around as I paused
to pluck a dandelion. That's the thing—
no matter what imagined ill has caused
my melancholy, you swoop past
my armor with ease. Sometimes I'm aghast
at how your hands are both cradle and sling.

Love Song for Turning Sixty

using end rhymes from stanza 34 of Amy Lowell's Pickkthorn Manor

First the sweat. Then the shaking.
Then the pills the doctors swore
would soothe. So much for taking
advice. The badge of age I wore
on my face not a prize. A man
can age without concern. This thing
called shame caused by the gaze
of a youthful world. I fling
my body around like a ruffian,
don't care who I pummel. I span
decades. Gold the cracks in this vase.


Donna Vorreyer is the author of To Everything There Is (2020), Every Love Story is an Apocalypse Story (2016) and A House of Many Windows (2013), all from Sundress Publications. She lives in the suburbs of Chicago where she serves as an associate editor for Rhino Poetry and hosts the monthly online reading series A Hundred Pitchers of Honey.


Hilary Biehl
Michelle DeRose
Claudia Gary
Lynn Gilbert
Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas
Mia Schilling Grogan
Sara Henning
Jenna Le
Marjorie Maddox
Susan McLean
Samantha Pious
Donna Vorreyer
Gail White
Marly Youmans


The Poetry by the Sea Conference ran successfully this year from May 24-27, and is scheduled next year from May 23-26.

Terri Witek: Kim Bridgford was one of the very first to support my work as a collaborator with visual artist Cyriaco Lopes and to honor my way forward as a teacher and practitioner of visual poetics; I’m therefore especially touched that Anna Evans has asked me back as featured artist in the new summer edition of Mezzo Cammin.

The three groups of work represented here are all from longer series of what I call citizen poetics: phone photos dropped into social media feeds without comment: just something washing by in the day’s various streams. To me, it’s important politically that these are all quick, low res images: they are what any soul with a phone might ‘catch' in the same way we monetarily grasp at what flicks past between ads and news from friends in the corporatate-owned scrolls we now move through.

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