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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. more



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



in meeting.



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,





























for what comes next.


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.

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