KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 7: Spring 2017
Micro-Fiction: 401 words

The World Is Bigger

by Kika Dorsey

He tells me he loves me as I lie on the white sheets, and I tell him about the orangutans in Borneo, how they are orange like the now setting sun on the horizon. Laying a hand on my arm, he leans over and kisses me, his large lips warm and dry against my cheek, and he tells me he loves me. I ask him why he’s never told me before, and he says it’s because I’ve changed. I curl a strand of his dark hair around my finger, and I think of that river in Kalimantan, how its green strand sliced the jungle in half.

I used to spend my days bathing my mother in the green bathroom in the nursing home, sponge against her wrinkled body, and then feed her carrots, rice, and chicken. I used to gather all my shadows into her death and find for them a home in my body. The end punctuated my days, and the past was a blanket hiding a litter of animals, a curtain that never opened to the stage. I used to wish for her death, and then when she died I missed her, and the past became a cart rolling into me from the plains, carrying a hungry family, pulled by a black horse with shoes of iron.

I tell him that once I tried to save the rainforest. I fed the orangutans pineapple and coaxed them back to the trees from captivity, and I wrapped the fires across my hands and stole the seeds of palm trees and burned them. Maybe that’s why he loves me now. The world was bigger than the brown soil of my mother’s eyes, that soil where I tried to plant roses in winter, and they never took to the frozen ground.

Now it is snowing and I sink into the honey of this bed, tangled in its hive while outside the refugees cross borders that the other man keeps trying to seal. I am resting so that I can build tunnels and train the black horse to enter the mouth of the earth and build for them homes with nails whittled out of my mother’s bones.

I lean toward the man and brush my fingers across his cheek of stubble, like the cacti on our desert floor. Then help me, I say, and he promises me that he will.


Kika Dorsey
Issue 7, Spring 2017

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.

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