by Donna Vorreyer
Unpack the pallets of female forms and lay them
flat on conveyors covered with white sheets.
First stop: womb removal – they cannot conceive
of the sacrifices to come; then the separation:
drill bits dig stigmata, metal spines inserted
for the missionaries, vertebrae removed to fuse
the bowed heads of the silent pious, intestines
lined with steel for servants of the poor – they will
know a different suffering. Where they converge:
immerse in holy water, a new baptism to heal
factory adjustments. On to the fitting of habits,
coifs pulled taut across foreheads for a few days
to squeeze out vanity. Apply accessories: crucifix,
wimple, scapular, rosary. Let harden until faith is firm.
Donna Vorreyer is the author of A House of Many Windows (Sundress Publications, 2013). Her work has appeared in journals including Rhino, Linebreak, Cider Press Review, Stirring, Sweet, wicked alice, and Weave.Her fifth chapbook, We Build Houses of Our Bodies was released in late 2013 by Dancing Girl Press.
Each new line is such a surprising and muscular juxtaposition to the one below it, with echoing half-meanings multiplying the layers. Clever conceit. Poor nuns.