Our Bodies Are More Than 50 Percent Water

Donna Vorreyer

         the woman who holds a river in her mouth

         — Sandra Beasley

The first man talked over me, the second

insisted I shut up. I learned to keep words

inside my head, became a pebble gathering

snow as it rolled toward a cliff. A woman

holds onto what is sacred, her lips

dammed shut, mere alluvium escaping.

Men controlled the floodgates of my teeth,

lifted and lowered at will. Another censored

even sweet talk, but then you asked

my name, cast a line into this murky deep

and waited for a bite, knowing a woman

who holds a river in her mouth cannot stem

the flow forever, knowing that each stone,

pressed tight against her tongue seeks release.

Some men seep only the profane, lips

spewing streams of spittle and pollution,

a mad stirring. But not you. You spoke

and dams crumbled. Levees broke,

the runoff gathering in the hollows

of our throats. Such sweet confluence.

about the author