Donna Vorreyer is the author of Every Love Story is an Apocalypse Story (Sundress Publications, 2016) and A House of Many Windows (Sundress Publications, 2013) as well as eight chapbooks, including The Girl (Porkbelly Press, 2017). She serves as the reviews editor for Stirring: A Literary Collection and teaches middle school in the suburbs of Chicago.
The ocean does its blue so well
that other colors only lie —
see, a red bloom will rise
when I slice at the swell
of the skin's blue-green river—
so I swim until I wilt and shiver.
Its salt can sting, its waves cradle
or tumble, sweep to flush
me under in a whitecap's rush
toward shore if, remaining idle,
I give myself over to
its considerable breadth and hue.
Yet in its infinite sighs, I am less
alone and so I stroke to keep
my head clear. Not ready to sleep
in its restless bed, I weave a necklace
of seaweed, paddle my way back to you —
no blue is that blue.
I have always been fascinated by the ocean, probably since I grew up far away from one. This poem started with notes written in my journal while on the beach along with reading some early poems of Elizabeth Bishop. I wanted to play with a rhyme scheme that I "stole" from one of her poems — I hoped that the balance and predictability of the formal structure would be a nice contrast to the idea of the ocean's dichotomy of calm and upheaval as well as the imbalance of indecision in times of emotional struggle.