KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 9: Spring 2018
Poem: 260 words

A Bone in My Body

by Kika Dorsey

The willow stands guard over our house, 
leaves like small knives and autumn’s 
breath touching it only to abandon 
the dark bark in its inhale. 
A rabbit sits hunched next to the lavender
and bindweed strangles the clematis. 

I used to weed but I injured my knee, 
bend and kneel to nothing—not even
my shrine with my father’s gold pocket-watch, 
my mother’s garnet, and quartz rock from my daughter.
I lie under the cross that nailed me to this world
with all its breath and rust and emptying wombs. 

I used to want you
the way the garden wants rain. 
Now highways beckon me, 
there is a bone in my body I want to set fire to, 
and yesterday my uncle died, 
a man who played Bridge and kissed everyone

right on the lips. 
He sang me songs he made up for me when I was a child, 
singing that TWA airlines stood for “Train with Air,”
or silly Austrian jingles,
and I would touch his rough face and laugh. 
I place on the shrine the King of Hearts. 

I want you 
the way a desert wants night, craving
stars, a relief from the sun that covers
the constellation of Pisces,
its water and its gray and its arching fish, 
that water that lives in my body

in its eggs and winding veins
like the highways I don’t travel, 
the sink of the roots,
or the tangled branches of the willow insisting, 
despite the heavy snow that will soon arrive, 
to touch the sky.


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