Poetry by Theresa Donnelly – 10/17

Planting Walls

You plant trees-
not with wrath
but with forbearance.

You water roots-
not by wells
but by tears.

You gather olives-
not by hand
but by heart.

Your embryonic
children fruitful-

stirring to the hymn
of the wind.

Neither breathing
nor inspiring-

a concrete wall bears no roots.

With no poetry
in its veins
it slithers like

an impassive serpent
across the plane,

blocking out the sun.
Gorging itself on groves

and homes. Where the only
physical evidence remaining
of their existence-

is a front-door key.

Originally published in Recurrence of Blue.

Land of Marbles

We’re supposed to hate each other
I can’t remember why.

Do you think it’s because we live on
different sides of the divide?

Or is it because we eat different foods?
Maybe it’s because we go to different schools.

My mother says I should stick with
my own kind but you have brown eyes
the same shade as mine.

My father says you and your people
should just disappear.

My brother says he despises you.
My sister says I should spit on you.

But I just want to play marbles
like we did yesterday.

I’ll swap you a Green-Ghost Crystal
for an Onionskin.

First published in Verse Afire.


Chicago bustles beneath me
as you lie beneath it
in a suburban grave
thirteen miles from the lake.

A confirmed bachelor
you danced with the devil.
Jet black curls
and a deep brogue
you turned heads
on Lakeshore Drive.

You left young
in search of what?

Did you find your Promised Land?

At one time your pockets
were lined with silver.
Lady Luck seduced you
over the roulette table.

You returned home occasionally
to attend the races. You brought
a petite woman with you.

She sat on your knee like
an Audrey Hepburn doll
breakfasting at Tiffany’s.

She had the most infectious smile
but you never married her.
You were married to the dice.

You died young
alone on Lakeshore Drive
discovered in a sea of spent lottery tickets.

Autopsy report concluded-
death by drowning.

Cards dealt face down
a final game of solitaire.

I cannot go to pay my respects
it’s only a stopover.


Theresa Donnelly was born in Dublin, Ireland, and has lived all over the world. Her poetry has been published in Surfacing Magazine, The Copperfield Review, Tales from the Forest (an Irish publication) and The Caterpillar Magazine among many other publications. She is the author of two poetry books: Moon Witch and Other Scary Poems and Recurrence of Blue. She is a member of The Ontario Poetry Society and a founding member of The Brooklin Poetry Society. You can find her at theresadonnelly.com.