Donna Vorreyer

Backyard Pastoral with a Little Death

We try in vain to decode the soil’s erosion, roots emerging wrangled and rutted from the
lawn. Beneath the deck, a parabola of ants swarms the gravel toward some hidden
corpse, the smell subtle yet cloying, a mouse, perhaps a bird, left by the neighborhood
cats. Other small creatures burrow holes into their own sweet oblivions. Yes, there is
decay, the thorn’s quick nip then a bloom of blood, both of us birthed bent from an
afternoon in dirt. Our shovel blades crack against clay, a fruitless clawing toward some
softer landing. Pink geraniums lipstick the green with their continuous blooms,
deadheaded then reborn. The grill smokes fat-slick and wicked as our dinner spits and
whistles. Later, steaks devoured, we tend a different garden, so many flowers exploding
in the dark.

Donna Vorreyer is the author of To Everything There Is (2020), Every Love Story is an Apocalypse Story (2016) and A House of Many Windows (2013), all from Sundress Publications. Her work has appeared in Salamander, Salt Hill, Baltimore Review, Poet Lore, Sugar House Review, Waxwing, and other journals, and she serves as an associate editor for Rhino Poetry.