Donna Vorreyer

There has been a small fire, burnt
tar-paper in a wastebasket, an accident
of no consequence, really—a thimbleful

of water tamed the blaze—but somewhere
buildings are burning, and I feel it is my
fault, like I have called the flames from

the cold sky with my witchcraft of longing.
I watch a calf being birthed in a pasture
surrounded by high red cliffs. I boil fresh

eggs still warm from soft underbellies
of chickens. These things are pleasant, yet
undeserved. At night, I sit with my books.

Somewhere, a fish is being angled for
off-shore. The hook in its mouth makes me
seasick, metal taste rising in my throat

like an anonymous threat. I keep changing
my address, shift from hotel to rooming
house, just to avoid the hook, the reeling in.

“The Running Away” was published in the 2014 edition of The Labletter. This poem is part of a series inspired by the letters of Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell.

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