donalee's poetry

My poems have appeared in several publications, including Arc Poetry Journal, Queen’s Quarterly, Prairie Fire, The Dalhousie Review, Atlantis, South Shore Review, Carousel, and Whetstone. Below are a few of my favourites.

Sorting clothes
in the little bedroom
while you lay
two doors down
waiting to die
I take a soft pink pullover
and fold the sleeves
undo, redo
Three piles: save, toss,

Yellow brick road
see where it led Judy
to the lap of
some withered man hiding behind
curtains, faeries, balls of
venerated for the mis

a shiny path
filled with promises
a scarecrow, cowardly lion
and tin men

I promised my path
would be different
was promised more than
diamonds, rubies,

here I am
the end of the road in sight
I feel Judy’s breath on
my neck
pressing me forward, pulling
me back

she’s off to see the wizard
me too

Today, I became invisible.

This is my 20/20 superpower;
uninvited, yet all too real.

A gradual metamorphosis, I see
Now in hindsight:
No meta physics or exploding world,
No ringing of the bugle
No senses tingling
No deflecting bracelets to mark the occasion

A flash of time
60 years in the making

Here I stand
sans mask and tights.
Slightly stooped
Laser-corrected vision
Trying to untangle this web of confusion

Yesterday on my daily planet
people nodded
as I walked by.
They saw
Apologized as they bumped me
Waved from across the street,
parking lot, grocery aisle
as if seeing me for the first time.
There you are.

Little did they know
My real identity
Waiting to emerge
Silently, relentlessly
Without aid of alien spacecraft
radioactive spider
or amazon queen to coddle me
into my new persona

Today is August twenty-second.

A new me is sculpted
From clay
And tradition, expectation

Now I walk into rooms
Cloaked in forceless fields
Shielded from sight
I see animated faces looking
In my direction
Hands at their sides
Eyes focused elsewhere

Today I turned 62,
or 58, 71
Age is irrelevant
once you are in

if only I were

sounds like organic lettuce
from southern California
the kind pretty people eat with a fork
and a knife
linen napkins and champagne flutes
an aura of laughter
a hint of condescension
so I looked it up
knowledge is a comfort food
unearthed unhelpful synonyms:
bombast, cockalorum,
fanfaronade, magniloquence,
but I know this intrinsically
for what I am not
it’s the guy in the bar
(there is always a guy in the bar)
with the beer and the swagger
one imported; the other innate
to call him cocky is a compliment
bluster an itch he doesn’t want to scratch
like the sage at the workshop
who doesn’t fill in calendar blocks
instead creates a circle –
time is fluid –
and I wonder if we are intended to swoon
in awe at this presence
wonder at the loathing that rises in me
whose only hot air is gastric
who crushes the seeds in the rodomontade

before they have a chance to grow
there is even my aunt with the hats –
panama, pillbox, panache –
people comment and I feel uneasy
for the attention she draws
I cannot understand this pull to centrestage
I prefer the wings
Where ambiguity sits in the comfort of shadows
Cast from the light
yet somewhere an image rises
refutes condemnation
crows loudly
remember Colleen
the colleague who strutted
shoulders back, chin up
eyes scorching
she paraded
even to the coffee machine
even when the mass in her face
when skin sagged
lips went limp
cheekbones labelled medical waste
her left arm still lifted as if anchored
beyond the fiancé who fled
defying anyone to say she wasn’t sexy
as hell

Two doors down
Yellow brick road
Ode to M. Night Shyamalan

published in the Queen's Quarterly

published in Arc Poetry Magazine

published in The Atlantis

published in the South Shore Review