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: Rust, Coming 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.