Donna Vorreyer

How to Change Your Mind in Thirty Minutes or Less


The giving in. The can collapsing as it moves from flame to ice. A fist closing around a tulip. A door locked and barricaded by a chair. The empty bottle of pills. The empty bottle. The empty.

The sun rises and falls each day. Something to look forward to. Until it isn’t. Until the only light is a bulb controlled by a switch and you never want to turn it on. Ever.

In the woods, the birds sing warning. Or celebration. You are concerned you can’t tell the difference.

Waiting to be kissed or waiting to be devoured. Lips or teeth? Until contact, you don’t know. Sometimes a kiss is a cannibal act. After all, we use the word consume when we talk about desire.

Spring is late to arrive this year, bullied by the whims of currents. Timid buds peek into uncertain flowering. The night may be gentle or inhospitable. Neither you nor the flowers know which is coming.


The held breath. The pop and hiss as a can is opened and poured over ice. The final boarding call for a flight back home. A door unlocked and swung wide to the morning. A new color in the landscape. A new color. Anything new…

The sun rises and falls each day. Always something to look forward to. You cannot stop it. Some days joy will find you simply because you choose to go looking for it.

In the woods, the birds sing warning. Or celebration. It hardly matters which, as long as they are singing.

Waiting to be kissed or waiting to be devoured. The lean-in to the kiss is better than the kiss itself. Lips or tongue? You don’t know until contact. The not-knowing is what defines desire.

Spring is late to arrive this year, but all the sweeter for the waiting. Each bud
a testament to tenacity. Each tongue of green pushing through the dark earth
singing hosannas.


The held breath must eventually be released. This is a type of giving in. The longing for home after being away is a type of collapse. A door is meant to be both barrier and portal, and anything filled will become empty.

You cannot control the weather or the fates. A new day is a new day. The sun rises and falls as it always has. You choose to notice or keep your eyes turned only to the ground.

In the woods, birds sing.

A kiss can be an ending that hurts or a beginning that promises. In the end, it is just a kiss, as the old song says. Expecting it to save or destroy you is a dangerous fiction.

Spring will come when spring will come. Complaining about its delay will not make it
happen faster. This is true for any anticipated thing. If you must be resigned to anything, be resigned to this –so much of anything is completely out of your hands.



Once Upon Another Time

I was all plug and spark, a flick of a wrist
and perfect pitch, all passion and promise.

Now I am surrender and slack, all weary black dog
and beaten, waiting for the end. A lemon bitten

not juiced, the sour delivered direct. Seeds
stuck in my teeth. This is the feast

of the browbeaten. It took a lot to snuff
that fire, but this world has hushed me to ember.

My body tenses in fight or flight. Joy used
to be my companion. Sad now how much it startles.


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, including The Girl (Porkbelly Press, 2018). Her poems and reviews have recently appeared in Waxwing, Glass, Juxtaprose, Quarterly Review, and The Rumpus.