The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Titania in Yellow by Dayna Patterson

Hecate, as you did for Demeter, do

You didn’t have to be a Shakespeare to play
word god. Everyday speakers in the Renaissance
formed new words like crazy.
—Constance Hale

Let obscene and sacred hobnob (e.g.
obsacred). Portmanteaus will spark a spree
(i.e. reblend your words to blurds). Slipdrop
these newbies, barefaced, in routine talkswap.

Be not afraid to put a “be” before,
besmirch a phrase befeathered and adored.
Try on endings: moonray? moongleam? moonwisp?
Hibiscus tea tastes faintly moonbeam . . . ish.

If dictionaries leave you green-eyed—good.
Let’s feast! Tomeswallow. Wordgobble. Tonguefood.
Follow neolexical twitterfeeds,
and mimic those ab-brief-iating tweens.

Then send what madcap mouthmagic you make,
for nothing less than language is at stake.


This selection comes from the book, Titania in Yellow, available from Porkbelly Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Donna Vorreyer.

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.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Titania in Yellow by Dayna Patterson

Hecate, as you did for Demeter, do

for these unmothered. Sweep the dead
across the threshold of Dis

into the wings of those who wait,
their talons muddy from the trenches they dug

and filled with wine and flesh to summon
phantom hunger. Suture

Cordelia, Ophelia, Miranda
to their unnamed matrons. Stitch

the rift between Juliet
and Lady C, Perdita

and Hermione. Bring
the mothers of Jessica, Portia, Viola

up from the gut of the earth
into a forest

craquelure with moonlight.
There, in a grotto’s mouth,

above a nest of hatchling snakes, set
my mother and me and my daughters. Plant

our feet on an ormolu mount. Interlace
our porcelain. Let incense climb

our limbs and sash
our waists and curl

through our hair in smoky tendrils, unfurling to the stars.


This selection comes from the book, Titania in Yellow, available from Porkbelly Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Donna Vorreyer.

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.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Titania in Yellow by Dayna Patterson

Watching The Merry Wives of Windsor with My Girls

Because a glut of glass slippers.

Because a blastoma of pink.

Because Juliet and Ophelia,
yes, but also Anne Page.

Because Anne Page and her decoys,
boys disguised in dresses and veils,
trick away suitors she’s
refused. She elopes with her pick,
defying both parents.

Because a page to write on
or be written upon.

Because a shortage of girls with ink-stained fingers.

Because Anne authors her own story,
asks forgiveness, not permission.

Because before Frog and Toad, there was
Mistress Page and Mistress Ford, sharing letters,
facing snakes. Before Thelma and Louise, these
world-wise women,
watching each other’s back.

Because these Merry Wives, friends and tricksters,
specialize in subterfuge, fly
in the face of Falstaff’s lewd intentions.

Because a clever mother and clever daughter
grow into—and out of—each other.

Because we coven of sisters
fledge in flocks.


This selection comes from the book, Titania in Yellow, available from Porkbelly Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Donna Vorreyer.

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.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Titania in Yellow by Dayna Patterson

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.


This selection comes from the book, Titania in Yellow, available from Porkbelly Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Donna Vorreyer.

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.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Titania in Yellow by Dayna Patterson

Titania’s Adoption Papers

Please list your assets and/or gross family income:

All the trees of the forest, all the moss of river
stones, every mushroom, toadstool, lichen, all lesser
fairies, every moth, cobweb, peaseblossom, mustard
seed, every sparking star, every flower’s nectar, all
nutshells, rainwater, honeycomb, tree blood.

If you are granted adoption privileges, how will you raise your adoptive child?

With wolf howl and loon lullaby. Among birds and
maidenhair ferns. With bastions of banyan roots and
shining beetle carapaces, grounded clouds and new
lava. Among sprites, genii, phantoms, kirin, fairy
folk. Fortressed in fences of trees and walls of air.

Briefly describe your motives for seeking to adopt at this time:

Because I’ve swallowed a well full of echoes.
Because my room’s painted red and sculpted with
delicate bones. Because the space between desire
and hope is roughly 20 inches. Because mammoths
haven’t gone extinct in my veins. Because I’m an
ocean with no whalesong, a river floating empty
baskets of reeds.


This selection comes from the book, Titania in Yellow, available from Porkbelly Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Donna Vorreyer.

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.