Sharon Olinka

Images by Wayne Atherton
  • Portrait of Donkey Lady
  • Charisse and Guillermo
Becoming Donkey Lady


One of them kicked
me. I knew him,
he was twelve. I was hit
with a board. Punched.
Chinese witch, they called me.
I ain't even Chinese. Must be
my eyes. My skin. Flowered
dress torn. Blood on mouth,
over bright red lipstick.
Lookit her burned arm, a man
yelled. Ugly as sin.
She's fulla sin.
I toppled over
the bridge.
Elm Creek claimed me.
And my donkey
fell too, only creature
that ever loved me.

Come visit.
You'll smell me first.
Rotting leaves. Donkey shit.
Sharp whiff of perfume.
Jasmine. Liked it once.
Then you'll hear
me: click of my hooves.
Still got my long hair.
Comb it with twigs,
while grackles watch.
Their gold eyes sparkle,
don't mind me.


Love Me as I am


Blood on his snout.
Caught a deer. 

My farts like sewage.
Constant braying. 

Winds blow against
salmon colored walls.
We wait for them to pass. 

Guillermo so strong
he can bend, snap spoons.
He breaks dishes
and I cry. 

Cornbread cooling
in a pan, by
a frayed, royal blue
dish towel. 

Dancing close
in Gruene Hall.
Our own limbs again. 

Sliver of moon
in a winter sky.
Someone to see it with. 

We try hard
to get human days right.

Sharon Olinka

Sharon Olinka is the author of The Good City (Marsh Hawk Press) and her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Nimrod, Poetry Wales, New York Quarterly, The Texas Observer, and many other publications. She was a guest writer for the Department Studies at Dokuz Eylul University in Izmir, Turkey. “Becoming Donkey Lady" and "Love me as I am" are from a long poem sequence called "The Donkey Lady." (Photo credit: Al Rendo)

Wayne Atherton

Wayne Atherton is senior editor of The Cafe’ Review, Maine’s oldest literary and art journal since 1989. For over twenty years he has been building a rather large body of mixed media collage and is always looking to collaborate with like-minded poets & writers. He has an ongoing exhibit of 18 collages, which may be viewed at, archived issue no.15. Most recently, seven of his collages were featured in collaboration with poet Paul Pines in a published book of poems titled, Fishing On The Polestar, Dos Madres Press (May 2014). He may be contacted directly at