Donelle Dreese

Donelle DreeseDonelle Dreese is a professor in the English Department at Northern Kentucky University where she teaches Multicultural and Environmental Literatures, American Women Poets, and writing. Her books include the novel, Deep River Burning (WiDo Publishing), a YA vignette novella, Dragonflies in the Cowburbs (Anaphora Literary Press), and three poetry collections: A Wild Turn (Finishing Line), Looking for a Sunday Afternoon (Pudding House), and her most recent book, Sophrosyne (forthcoming from Aldrich Press). Her creative work has appeared in journals such as Quiddity International, Appalachian Heritage, Roanoke Review, Connotation Press, ISLE, and Conclave: A Journal of Character. You can learn more about Donelle at, or follow Donelle on Twitter (@donelledreese).


You break bread into small pieces.
Sometimes the day is better
taken in low doses so you can see

how it breaks down in the body.
Morning, for example, can be digested
gradually, a whole grain meditation

that keeps the boat from sinking
before noon. You could wrap a morsel in cloth
and send it out into the world

to see if it will multiply. The day’s work
is a phone call to an emergency number
full of urgency and confusion

from smelling the smoke without
finding the fire. We can take it slowly.
Start with the crust and work our way

toward the center. A grain of wheat
grows in its own time, as the day opens
steady and parceled so we taste it all.



The Surrender Tree

A broken water oak lies exposed
in the clean balm of morning

blocking the only road home.
In the midst of movement is this calm

the blossoming bankruptcy of effort
peace sprouting from the roots

the tender mucosa of all living things
that stops us in our tracks.

We cannot go back.
What would we go back to?

A bouquet of apologies
pouting in a cloudy vase?

Believe me, it’s a blessing
to stop moving and breathe

to feel the arc of your biorhythm
and say, I am enough.

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