OXIDANT | ENGINE : Issue 9

Donna Vorreyer

Intruders

 

Living with mice in the walls, one knows

the haunting—the sound of footfalls that

increases with the dark, the skittering

between stud and lathe, frightening

the house to waking.

They rest when I am restless then

the moment I drift off, their bodies fly

again. My brain is the same, insomnia

projecting its slide/show (shit/show)

of failings on a loop as a spider swings

hypnotic just above my head. Regret

runs through me until my veins

are lined with insect itch and crawl.

Spiders, mice, remorse –

the body recoils against all three. But

unlike mouse or spider, there is no

humane way to extricate frailties.

I cannot lead them onto a piece of paper

and release them out the back door,

or offer them peanut butter or cheese

as entry to a catch and release trap.

It’s not that easy.

This morning, I sat on the porch

as a hummingbird sipped a trumpet

flower, peaceful and perpetual. Never

at rest, a gift my ghosts have inherited.

There are no rules for the dead,

no maps. I turn and there they are,

climbing the walls with the clematis,

their whispered diction spidering

my sleep. We are a family. One web.

One nest.  A congress of ghosts.

Donna Vorreyer is the author of Every Love Story is an Apocalypse Story (Sundress Publications, 2016) and A House of Many Windows (Sundress, 2013) as well as eight chapbooks, most recently The Girl (Porkbelly Press, 2018). Her poems and reviews have appeared in Poet Lore, Waxwing, Rhino, Harpur Palate and others, and her third full-length collection will be released by Sundress in 2020.