Donelle Dreese

The Body’s Silent Conversation with Things Today, I traced your imagein the morning airbirthing your summerform in front of mewith frightened hands. I hopefor a moment, whereveryou were, you felt your bodybeing whisperedby the breathable thingsthat surround you,that you stopped your workwhen you felt my palmpress tree saplings into the habitatof your heart. Someday,I might say it out loud. I mightlay the language downin front of you as a timberedpath carpeted in moss,but today, I relyon the body’s silent conversationwith things, the tilt towardthe outer edgesof the known world,the lean into love’s broadleaffingerprint, all the whilemy oak and maple hipssway in concert with wildgrasses as I walk. The Forgetting of Air
I am inside a tight fold of green leaves wanting to open. I am a body of floating embryosthat move from limb to limb, heart to mouth, rainbathing like mourning doves. My dreamsat night are filled with barriers crumbling, canyons closing, the sensation of six feet dissolvingto zero. My days are filled with the forgetting of air, forgetting to breathe, forgetting an old life. Even in summer, there is a slight chill. I drink mangoes, orchids, and colors that are in season. This is what I want to know--if I drink the blue of an angry jay, will I become hostile? A lifetime can live in six feet of air. Each time the air comes back to me, I remember that someone onceleft a box of ripe peaches on my doorstep. I can still smell the nectar. The inhale keeps me alive. Stories Unknown to Me I’m thinking about the stories I will never hear: the floral origins of your birth, the verdant colors and precocious cries of your childhood, the moment your faith jangled clear in your mind like a sanctified tambourine or rain dancing inside the blushing body of a cloud. I won’t hear about your lakes of loves, the shallow and placid, nor the long and legendary. I won’t hear about how you became a virtuoso, a conductor of resonant, symphonious souls, nor the tale of the immortal mistake that became your impossible lotus flower, or the regret that sits in the bottom of your heart as a haunted shipwreck, now home to hard and soft coral. I won’t hear how you became death’s graceful ally, or how you raised a calf who became a sturdy elk with velvet on his antlers. I will never know many stories, except this one. One day, for a moment, you looked at me and wondered, who is she? Donelle Dreese is a poet, novelist, essayist, and professor of English at Northern Kentucky University where she teaches multicultural and environmental literatures, American women poets, and writing courses. She is the author of several collections of poetry including Sophrosyne (Aldrich Press). Donelle is also the author of the novels Deep River Burning (WiDo Publishing) and Cave Walker (Moon Willow Press). Her poetry and fiction have appeared in a wide variety of literary journals including Roanoke Review, Louisville Review, and Potomac Review.