DONELLE DREESE

 

 

MARIA CARSON TO HER DAUGHTER, RACHEL, WHO ATTENDS THE PENNSYLVANIA COLLEGE FOR WOMEN, 1925

 

Go beyond the farm. Go 

where words and clover

converge, where books 

line walls and knowledge 

fountains into the streets. 

I’m sorry that your college 

clothes are hand-sewn 

that we parcel our land 

and sell plots to pay tuition 

that we've sold the chickens 

and the china. I will teach 

the children to play piano 

for your sake and for theirs 

for the world is a crippled 

sparrow without its artists. 

Your absence has brought 

shadow where your words 

were mid-day sun. My solace 

is that your capacities 

will be nourished, that you 

will write with a bold 

and blossoming pen. 

Free yourself of the world 

that binds women 

and wild creatures within it.  

 

 

ORGANELLE

 

This is about fish that glow in the dark

how the phosphorescent plankton 

in their bellies transforms them into a school 

of tiny souls spinning around seaweed

in an ocean wave shaped like a question mark

while science turns its clinical head away 

looks to the ringed moon for answers

fingers to its neck, searching for gills.

 

This is about getting to know each other

again as a planetary imperative

a cell membrane circling a globe  

worlds within worlds, organs within organs

mitochondria coughing up smoke

seagulls swooping the surf 

roses falling, still dripping of love.

 

This is about the smallest cell traveling 

around the world and seeing itself

in a lemon tree, dirt, a pack of wolves

as earth hatches clouds and country roads 

its organelle, from the salted mountain 

to the dog barking at a strawberry moon

both familiar and phenomenal.  

 

Donelle Dreese is a Professor of English at Northern Kentucky University. She is the author of three collections of poetry including Sophrosyne (Aldrich Press). Donelle is also the author of the ecofiction novels Deep River Burning (WiDo Publishing) and Cave Walker (Moon Willow Press).

<
>