Seventeen Certainties 

Donna Vorreyer 

That the insipid rain keeps falling.
That no room fills with light the same way twice.

That sin glistens like oil in a shallow dish.
That concrete leaves a better scar than asphalt.

That lies dissolve yet linger on the tongue.
That once a girl lived inside this sallow skin.

That at least one of my friends secretly hates me.

That every crowd contains a murderer.


That anyone who thinks I am mistaken about that last thing is wrong.


That the best among us is still an awful person.
That each year, quiet becomes a closer companion.
That shame is not diminished by platitudes.
That shame is not erased with rhetoric.
That what rises must burst and fall.
That the slow march toward death can be a dance.
That age makes the sweetest most melancholy music.

That what rises from my throat is not a curse, but a song.


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 Chicago suburbs.