Some days are raw hot wind
dark maroon blossoms of moods

bordering on mechanical
and here we are blinking

trying to free gummed lashes
from something flying in the air

a sour mash of fear and fatigue.
I know you had to walk through

a labyrinth of knives, but look
your ankles are still smooth.

You are still warm and awake
after listening to the ocean moan

after treading the web lines of a leaf
and wearing a stinging fur of snow.

The lanterns are underwater
but they illuminate the starfish

suspended near the surface
so we can see what we are given.

The virtuosity of another day
to make it right this time.

—Donelle Dreese


BIO: Donelle Dreese is an Associate Professor of English at Northern Kentucky University. She is the author of three collections of poetry, Sophrosyne (Aldrich Press), A Wild Turn (Finishing Line), and Looking for A Sunday Afternoon (Pudding House). Donelle is also the author of a YA vignette novella Dragonflies in the Cowburbs (Anaphora Literary) and the novel Deep River Burning (WiDo Publishing). Her poetry and fiction have appeared in a wide variety of literary magazines and journals. Her website is