Why I Go To Church – a poem by Kika Dorsey

Why I Go To Church

I dream of an ageless woman with short brown hair
and moist lips, body thin as young pine.

She has many children. She is a member of a religion
but none I know, not the one that caged me as a youth.

A preacher once said, “We are giving you a gift so that you
will be strong when you’re in pain,”

but I believed all was political,
and wine nothing like blood, bread nothing

like flesh that never crumbled. I believed
wings were made of nothing but skin, bone, and cartilage

and that only windows, not mirrors, don’t lie, that a brick
was nothing without mortar troweled by human hands.

I believed this: weather balloon, ambulance, furnace, dividends,
digging through the Earth’s magma to China and not a grave,

always culling, applauding, gathering, guarding,
and not the woman in the dream who visited me

in the middle of the night, lying on a bed,
surrounded by all her children chanting,

and I walk to her side and think how I only truly know
unconditional love when people die or are born,

my silence wrapped in prayer, a bell yoke,
a clapper swinging in a hollow mouth,

my children nothing like skin, bone, and cartilage,
nothing like windows or welded iron

but of gold, and when its sun lights the trodden path,
it is not despite the written hope of Earth, but because of it. 

Kika Dorsey is a poet and fiction writer in Boulder, Colorado.  Her books include the chapbook Beside Herself  (Flutter Press, 2010) and three full-length collections: RustComing Up for Air (Word Tech Editions, 2016, 2018), and Occupied: Vienna is a Broken Man and Daughter of Hunger (Pinyon Publishing, 2020), which won the Colorado Authors’ League Award for best poetry collection.

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