Kara Dorris earned a PhD in literature and poetry at the University of North Texas where she teaches writing. Her poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, I-70 Review, Southword, Rising Phoenix, Harpur Palate, Cutbank, Hayden Ferry Review, Tinderbox, Puerto del Sol, The Tulane Review, and Crazyhorse, among others literary journals, as well as the anthology Beauty is a Verb(Cinco Puntos Press, 2011). Her stories have appeared in Wordgathering, Waxwing, and the anthology The Right Way to be Crippled and Naked (Cinco Puntos Press, 2016). She has published three chapbooks: Elective Affinities (dancing girl press, 2011), Night Ride Home (Finishing Line Press, 2012), and Sonnets from Vada’s Beauty Parlor & Chainsaw Repair (dancing girl press, 2018). She is also the editor of Lingerpost, an online poetry journal.
You say, remember: language shivers away
from whatever it names. That’s how we learn
to justify leaving, our failure’s heartburn.
Our breaths mystify the known. We paint
our names across elevated train tracks,
a rite of passage: we were here. Tomorrow
the town will whitewash us, but we’ll know
beneath the white squares wait white lilacs,
shining lilacs that double as our wings.
We fell, from fallen-ness comes friction:
be burnished meat-hooks & feathered lures
or whitewashed, to-get-lost-in detours.
But even the puncture we fall through endures
our fall, & everyone is a puncture.