KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 8: August 2017
Poem: 210 words

All Grown Up

by Kika Dorsey
I pick blossoms from the elderberry bushes in town, 
their white flowers like the stars I wish on every night
to bring Vati home. 
We used to dunk them in batter and fry them, 
but now we have no flour, 
so we just use the eggs from our chickens. 
Mutti says the apple tree will bear us fruit 
despite the spring hail. 
She says we’ll be fine, 
but yesterday she was crying in the kitchen
while cutting potatoes. 

I want to help my mother. 
I collect coal and wood for the cold days
and I told her I would be the man of the house, 
but that just made her cry again. 

Once she set my brother down on the bed
and left him to boil water
and soak the diapers with vinegar and an egg
to cool his fever, 
and he rolled to the side of the bed and almost fell off, 
but I caught him. 

I need to be sharp
like the knife Vati gave me for whittling, 
though I haven’t whittled anything since he left. 
I need to keep my eyes wide open
like windows drinking this spring light, 
like my brother’s infant soul, 
his cries as open as the white blossoms I collect.


—From a manuscript-in-progress of poems about post-war Austria and Germany

Kika Dorsey
Issue 8, August 2017

is a poet and educator living in Boulder, Colorado. Her work has been published in numerous journals, including the Indiana Voice Journal, The Dr. T.J. Eckleburg Review, Narrative Northeast, Glint, KYSO Flash, and others. Her latest book, Coming Up for Air, is forthcoming in 2017. She is also the author of a collection of poems, Rust (WordTech Editions, 2016) [reviewed in KF-6], and a chapbook, Beside Herself (Flutter Press, 2010).

Dorsey works at Front Range Community College in Longmont, and when not writing, teaching, and raising two teenagers, she enjoys hiking in the mountains of Colorado near her home.

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