KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 7: Spring 2017
Prose Poem: 280 words

Artist’s Point

by Kika Dorsey

From here you can see the Continental Divide slicing through the sky with jagged gray peaks and pockets of snow. I carry the ashes of two birds and my mother. Pan was the green shy one, Lucy the bossy one, my mother the point of the trilogy that cut into the earth to finish me, my mother the battling one.

She battled weeds along the tomatoes in the garden, hunger in the bowels of post-war Alps, the Vietnam war in America, my father’s delusions. She battled me when I drank rivers dry and lived in a van, and she battled Alzheimer’s when it first appeared to her, writing notes on a pad like flypaper to capture her thoughts.

There is no wind today, so the ashes fall off the cliff to land below us. I had hoped I would see my mother and the birds fly. The chunks of bone fall faster, and my bones I stitch to my heart, I the surviving one.

The sun dives quickly here along the jagged Western horizon, and I breathe in the ashes of the day, its smoky release, its promise of sleep. Absence is charred and gray, the rubble of a cathedral in the shadow of its foundation, when a war is imminent and the queen has fallen asleep in the cold winter with her slippers still on, a fire burning in the porcelain stove.

That fire will embrace us, its heat tracing a revolution of forgotten flesh while another body remembers her, how she fed us chocolate after the long hike through the mountains when a father was still alive, and the stone cradled us with its milk-white snow.


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