After the Fires (A Nightmare)

Sparrows enter through doors and windows, lured
by unseen forces, exit in a flurry of chimney smoke.

Stain of flutter. Shimmering carcinogens. Not burning
but batting wings to ash. To ashes. Not burnt but

spurting from the funnel smudged and frenzied, some
dark thing possessing them. Passing through the stack,

they emerge changed and skittering. This is the reason
I shake in doorways, cringe at hinges, tremble when

I am drawn toward some sunrise, some small
kindness, anything tender. Pressure in my chest,

a column building—a plume of sparrows rises.


Donna Vorreyer is the author of A House of Many Windows (Sundress Publications, 2013). Her work has appeared in many journals, including: Rhino, Linebreak, Cider Press Review, Stirring, Sweet, wicked alice, and Weave. She is a consulting contributor for The Poetry Storehouse, which encourages remixing poetry with other art forms. Her fifth chapbook, We Build Houses of Our Bodies, was released in late 2013 by Dancing Girl Press, and her second poetry collection is forthcoming from Sundress Publications in 2016.