KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 7: Spring 2017
Lineated Poem: 377 words

Lightning Veins

by Kika Dorsey
The veins in my hand are shaped like a tree,
and one on the inside of my arms is a lightning bolt.
I remember my father’s translucent skin,
his blue veins visible through a pale, transparent body.
I used to think I was too much like him,
thin-skinned and delicate,
fragile as a thin vase holding
daisies I bought for my mother
in the spring hail of Vienna.

My father accused me of stealing his music that day.
We were in the small living room,
tall ceilings, black piano where he sat,
ruffling pages of music,
I on the white couch,
Turks yelling on the cobbled streets below,
waft of goulash in the air,
Father pointing to me, saying
Who told you to do it?

I always believed in porous borders,
Syrians now in Vienna
after crossing tumultuous waters into Greece,
refugees from Mexico trudging through Arizona’s desert,
my hands that sometimes bleed,
a nightmare swimming from deep waters
into the struggling world
and sometimes the dream
or the daffodil rises from the earth’s border
in the spring, the daffodil we never planted.

Father, this spring it didn’t hail.
I wish you could see it.
Apple blossoms promising fruit,
soft rain that the grass drinks.

I left the apartment that day,
frightened and shaking after he grabbed my arm
and insisted on my crime.
I rode the street car round and round the Ring,
sitting on a wooden seat
with the muzzled Shepherd
and punks eating gelato.
I got off at Schwedenplatz
and walked to Stephanskirche,
stared at wooden Jesus on the cross and cried,
my flesh wet and burning from the hail.
He climbed off the cross that day.
He traced the lightning bolt
on the inside of my arm
and he brought to the city water.

I stole my father’s music ten years later,
after he died,
and I made it my own,
becoming the criminal I never was,
sleeping in the dissonant notes of jail
and bleeding across borders to find my home,
far away from him,
though I carry him in my skin,
rivers of veins blue-green like the Danube,
rivers I sometimes dare to cross,
rivers that flood when the sky is too heavy,
lightning etched
in the spring sky.


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