Coming Up for Air by Kika Dorsey

It’s taken years of carrying my body like luggage
and the old green dresser with drugs,
the scrolled desk from my grandmother,
the brown belt with gold inlays,
my father’s frown,
my mother’s distracted eyes of a finch.

Years where language eluded me
and I opened my legs to men
like the master key of a haunted house
and I breathed in smoke and spit out fire.

Years since I fished for carp in the dirty St. Joe river
and drove drunk in the yellow Honda,
sideswiping parked cars,
soldiers home from Vietnam,
missing legs, painting our house white.

Years since I crossed borders like water,
wished for silent snow to turn to the transparent thrum of rain,
and I could never clean the windows of planes,
where my lovers smudged them
with their sweat and their asking and their fingers,
and I forever going away,
to jungles where macaques swung with a grace I didn’t have,
to Greek cities white as a baby’s skin,
traveling with bloodshot eyes,
my eyes of dust.

And now there are green walls,
babies fall out of me,
mountains crush the horizon,
and the coyotes stalk our cats.
I watch my feet, how they tread on graves,
and my hands weave blankets before the sun can rise,
blankets with the constellation of Libra,
with its binary and double stars,
claws of the scorpion and scales,
its home built on air. 


Kika Dorsey is a poet and professor from Boulder, Colorado. She has been published in numerous journals, and her chapbook, Beside Herself, came out in 2010 with Flutter Press, and her book, Rust, will come out in 2016 with Word Tech Editions. When not writing, she dreams, studies myths, runs, swims, and raises her children.