DONNA

STEINER

Donna Steiner’s writing has been published in literary journals including The Sun, Fourth River, Radar Poetry, Under the Gum Tree, Brevity, and Stone Canoe. A chapbook, Lost and Found in Ocean County, New Jersey, was published in 2020 from Tolsun Books. Another chapbook, Elements, was released by Sweet Publications.  

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AQUARIUM

Visual Poem

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The baby stingrays shimmy

 

      like youthful escapees

 

             from gravity. Your wounds

 

                                  shiver inside your sleeves;

 

                                           when you leave the aquarium

 

                                    it is like emerging

 

             from the Saturday matinees

 

      of childhood –

 

the need to squint

 

                 against the light,

 

                                    the moment

 

                                             of remembering

 

                                                                                                                                                                    that the world you live in

 

                              makes demands

 

                  you are not altogether

 

            interested

in meeting.

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PTSD

The Imax screen rises and curves like a sail and the sound feels internal like you have no membrane the way the engine entered your skull, chthonic and never-ending, and the screen is a wave rising but when you try to look up the tilt of your head catches you, the memory of looking higher and higher and how can water be above us? and you are falling into the abyss of a movie theater chair and the girl you will marry turns and smiles. (She bought the tickets, surprise, a fun afternoon, what could go wrong?) You are not on the ship there is no danger the therapist said breathe against the clamor said where do you think they are now said yes they suffered said this is your life.

Everyone is looking up at the screen,

 

 

 

 

waiting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

for what comes next.

THE RESILIENCY OF CORAL

He sends a photograph: California waterfalls.

Yellow rocks shine behind the downstream,

 

remarkable in this year of drought.

Days later I notice he’s in the photo –

 

far below the cliff, slight as a sapling,

centered in the frame.  Shirtless, shoeless,

 

head tilted toward the sky, drenched,

nearly overlooked. Reverent.

 

Certain corals, in certain seas, even after great peril,

 

after damage that looks like doom…

they come back.