KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 3: Spring 2015
Haibun Story: 303 words


by Kika Dorsey

The parakeets have left their golden-barred cage. I had forgotten to close it after feeding them millet and grain, and now they are scattered on the red oriental rug with prisms and flowers and leaves, and they are perched on the maroon blanket of our bed, where my husband sleeps, and they are wandering on my oak dresser, picking with their pink beaks at dust and pictures of my demented mother and my husband’s dead sister, black and white photos, colors buried in their graves.

The dogs come in. They amble like old people, sniffing the ground. Their musky smell envelopes me, and I fear for the birds. I gather them to me—green Pan with his deep blue tail feather, Indigo the child of the moon, Lucy yellow like the month of June. White Avis sits on the top of the cage, so I let her be, while the dogs sniff at the periphery and I with the birds in my hands, on my shoulders, on my breasts, place them back into their cage.

I have aged. I am beholden to no one. Feathers land on me like dust. I have raged, but the birds’ songs silenced me long ago. I have wronged, but out of my falls I built golden bars, and the gray prisons released me to that cage like spring water from a dam.

Avis transforms. Her beak collapses into a mouth wet and red; her body stretches like the arms of dancers; her white head darkens to black, rumpled night. She is a woman with the smell of petrichor in her breath, and her voice is the color from our graves, the sliver from a darkened moon, the hunt of the dogs, moss growing in shadow, white wings.

she sings
her thick, falling song
accelerando, cascading breath

—From the poet’s collection-in-progress Coming Up for Air

See also Author Commentaries on Haibun Stories.

Kika Dorsey
Issue 3, Spring 2015

is a poet and professor in Boulder, Colorado. Her work has been published in The Denver Quarterly, The Comstock Review, and The Columbia Review, among numerous other journals and books. Her collection of poems, Beside Herself, was published by Flutter Press in 2010. Her forthcoming book is entitled Rust. She likes to run, swim, craft poetry out of dreams, and spend time with her husband and children.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Coming Up for Air, a poem in Drunk Monkeys (7 May 2015)

Three Poems in Indiana Voice Journal (1 May 2015); includes “Horses,” “Mother’s Little Helper,” and “Yggdrasil”

The Holy Ghost, a poem in The King’s English (Issue 14, Summer 2008)

In Berlin, a poem in Eckleburg (The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review)

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