Two of my poems included in Paws Healing The Earth anthology

I am so pleased to have two poems in the anthology Paws Healing The Earth, alongside such writers as Robert Pinsky, Xánath Caraza, Marian Haddad, Candice Louisa Daquin, Melissa Stoddard, and editor and poet, Kalpna Singh-Chitnis. Many thanks to River Paws Press.

My short story Hell with a Metal Door published in Through the Looking Glass anthology

Through The Looking Glass: Reflecting on Madness and Chaos Within


Donna Snyder

Hell with a metal door

Lo and behold the first thing I see, when they rescue me just in time to

avert true claustrophobic panic, is a giant loteria card—la escalera, a

ladder. By giant I mean dorm room poster size. I mean the size of an 8-

year-old boy. I mean big as Jack Kerouac’s head. The card mocks me with

its simple image of an ancient labor-saving device next to a door that leads

to steps. A stairway with no angel to wrestle besides my guilty conscience

for not hauling myself up these stairs instead of taking the elevator. I see

Indians kicked off their land for somebody else to sell coal to generate

power for this elevator. This electric escalera. This stairway to heaven and

its dead god.

The fallen angel-that would be me. Like Ginsberg’s mom, lobotomized.

My nudity stolen along with my persona. They poisoned me. They

electrocuted me, like Plath. They took scalpels and opened my head como

un melón on Frida’s breakfast tray, sliced and diced. As if my brain were a

sandía and they wanted an agua fresca. But all they did was cut it in two

and sew me back together.

As the drugs relent, I realize I am trapped behind a metal door. The

headache is fighting my instincts, no holds barred. I wrestle angels while

trying to climb a ladder to heaven. But that ain’t me. Hell, no. Because I

am the fallen angel, my sole impulse is to kick all the legit angel ass I can

find, pluck their wings featherless as old Tom Turkey, oblivious that he’s

‘bout to die for Thanksgiving. Because everyone must give their thanks.

Give thanks for the metal door, the electrons and neutrons dancing

through my brain like spring maidens carrying weapons all aimed at me.

When the light disappears it’s only me in the dark, waiting for my lovey to

come hold me but she doesn’t come. She’s out dancing with sunflowers

and sucking Kerouac’s bloated dick. Sunflowers fall like angels the way I

fell from the world above. Feathers plucked. Naked. Helpless before my

captors. These men in white coats, these Big Nurses who shut me up with

shots and pills. Hush, they say, or they’ll give me another shot. Which

might be okay if it were some good shit but instead it makes you stupid

and paralyzed, with a foul taste in your mouth. The whole enchilada is like

the killing flu. Misbegotten misery.

I used to want to kill myself but when I forgot to love food, I forgot to

want to die then, too. Stuck in a metal box and no matter how hard I cry

no one ever comes. I never come. And finally I know all of this is nothing

more than inscrutable scribbles in the impenetrable night that is now my


I think of those stairways in Sunset Heights that lead nowhere I can ever

go. God made me a slave, a woman, and an unclean remnant of some

other sense and sensibility without a female principal. It tripped me up and

I fell down.

It found me here trapped behind a metal door. I wonder about coal miners

and birds, electricity and light through the dark. A fallen angel sent to light

the way to a ladder to escape the lightning-filled night. Longing for agua

de melón. Longing for Ginsberg’s sunflowers. Longing for Frida and her

breakfast tray. Longing for a ladder to climb out of this hell with a metal


My apologies to the publisher for botching their beautiful formatting while copying and pasting this from the pdf review file to this blog. The book itself is beautiful.