Self-Portrait as Titania with Newborn Animus
Little one, you fringe my dreams
with lanugo, one minute: fetus; the next:
vernix of red flame. It doesn’t scorch
my arms to cradle your fire and ice.
When all my faith has fled—instead of rope,
a linkage of snakes—I want to be filled
with your almost-ness, your on-the-cusp
-ness, potential gestating in this weak
house of skin. Your glaciers pout the book
the book the book. But I’m a womb
of worry. What are we but the leavings
of our mothers? How do we harvest
our fathers’ fallow? After hours of labor,
after sufficient pain to render us gasping
and slick, will a swaddle release the sterile
dust, seed fields richly, enflower?
Milkmouth, warm flesh of poems I need
to write, I apologize in advance for the wounds.
All my words call for bandages.
Dayna Patterson is the author of Titania in Yellow (Porkbelly Press, 2019) and If Mother Braids a Waterfall (Signature Books, 2020). Her creative work has appeared recently in POETRY, Ruminate, Sugar House Review, Thrush, and Tupelo Quarterly. She is the founding editor-in-chief of Psaltery & Lyre and a co-editor of Dove Song: Heavenly Mother in Mormon Poetry. She has been a Sustainable Arts Fellow at Mineral School Artists Residency. daynapatterson.com
Donna Vorreyer is the author of two full-length collections of poetry: Every Love Story is an Apocalypse Story (Sundress Publications, 2016) and A House of Many Windows (Sundress Publications, 2013), as well as eight chapbooks: The Girl (2017, Porkbelly Press), Tinder, Smolder, Bones and Snow (2016, dancing girl press), Encantado, Illustrated by Matt Kish (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2015), We Build Houses of Our Bodies (dancing girl press, 2013), The Imagined Life of A Pioneer Wife (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2013), Ordering the Hours (Maverick Duck Press, 2012), Come Out, Virginia (Naked Mannequin Press, 2011), and Womb/Seed/Fruit (Finishing Line Press, 2010).
She currently serves as a staff reviewer for the journal Stirring: A Literary Collection and Rhino Reviews. Her poetry, fiction, and book reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in such journals as Sugar House Review, Diode, Waxwing, Juxtaprose, Poet Lore, Border Crossings, Harpur Palate, and Quarterly West, and anthologies such as A Face to Meet the Faces (2013) and New Poetry from the Midwest (2015). Although she does not have an MFA, she gets an education daily in her life as a middle school English teacher.