Heaven as Cave – a poem by Kika Dorsey

Heaven as Cave

You need to make redemption
out of your dust and bones
as you knot melodies in your hands
that reach for the child,
scarred and full of healing,
the child made of the shadow plays
in your cave.

I never believed in anything
but heaven as a cave
with stalactites reaching
from the ceiling
and the water as still
as my father’s eyes on God,
the bats as dark as their home,
heaven an underground heart
encased in ribs of contrition,
and my mother a reservoir of memory,
a water where I steer my canoe
to the cave’s opening, 
shaft of light the belief
that her wounded mind could heal
in the dark water.

Verticality promised stars for homes
but I only knew how to scaffold
from the wood of fallen trees
and when I rose higher
than my outstretched arm
I could see how the devil
lived in cloud and sun
and I buried my God
and I chose to believe
that not all ghosts rise.
They dig through the earth
with the scapular bones
of timid and gentle deer
and fill our graves
with jewels and arrows.

My father saddles my horse,
my mother kneads my dough,
my lover lives as long
as horizons on the plains
where underground
is a treasure we cannot see yet,
and the children collect stones,
every one of them a promise. 

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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