KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 6: Fall 2016
Memoir: 274 words [R]

Dear Mother

by Kika Dorsey

I miss you as the days begin to spread this late February, as the tulip bulbs stir in the earth and snow melts on the brown grass. My children are growing. I, who was always taller than you, am now the shortest person in the house. Eliza’s hair is the color of a coyote, and Sam’s legs like the days stretching, and we have a new cat that rubs against our legs and purrs. I wish you could see it, but you pace in the nursing home, hunched over like the boulders littering our mountains, and you roll and lick your lips and speak nonsense, and Mother, where are you? Are you gathering mushrooms in the Alps, are you swaddling your baby brother, are you giving birth to me in Wisconsin, are you swimming in its lakes?

I don’t know what happens to memory. Does it shrink from the light and hibernate in dreams to emerge when spring meets you on the other side, or does it disappear like the steam from the water I boil to make you tea?

A train is whistling. My cat cries when the sun rises. For decades I balanced myself on you, held your shoulder when I thought I’d fall. Now my hands have only air, and my dance is less graceful now that I’m alone, now that I don’t have you. Mother, I fall a lot.

It’s a dance, nevertheless, and my mind stretches backwards, my children’s snow caves melt, and nothing anymore belongs to me, not even my memories, not even the day your eyes still touched mine, and their light fell like stars.


—First published on Facebook (7 May 2016) and appears here by author’s permission

Kika Dorsey
Issue 6, Fall 2016

is a poet and professor from Boulder, Colorado, whose work has been published in numerous journals, most recently the Indiana Voice Journal, The Dr. T.J. Eckleburg Review, Narrative Northeast, Glint, and others. She is the author of a collection of poems Rust (WordTech Editions, 2016) [reviewed here in KF-6] and a chapbook Beside Herself (Flutter Press, 2010). When not writing, teaching, and mothering two teenagers, she enjoys hiking and running in the plains and mountains of her Colorado home.

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”

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

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