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Kika Dorsey is a poet and fiction writer in Boulder, Colorado, and lives with her two children, husband, and pets. Her books include 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). She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times. Currently, she is an instructor of English at Front Range Community College and works as a writing coach, editor, tutor, and ghostwriter. In her free time she swims miles in pools and runs and hikes in the open space of Colorado’s mountains and plains.


Trigger Warning

There’s an upside down house in Poland
with a vintage television
that blasts propaganda from the 70s
as you enter through the attic
and walk on the ceiling.
It’s a statement about the Communist party
that turned their country
upside down.

I spend my days
walking on ceilings
in America,
its floor full of gravity
a heaven that has fallen,
a country I used to believe in
when I was young
and I flipped through history books
with ladder-back chairs of letters
spelling freedom, equality
while my mother brushed cobwebs
from our home’s corners
and tried not to sound like an immigrant
but her accent was as thick
as our home’s stone walls.

There’s a lamp on the ceiling.
It brightens the high floor
and sometimes paradox doesn’t apply
and a lie is a lie
and I am certain that we are one headstand away
from burying our eyes.

The lamp lights a dream I had of a pool
where I swam right where the rain started,
on the cloud I can’t see
when I look up at the ground

and a man sets his watch
for the midnight of humanity
and I cry, It is the middle of the day,
though I don’t know if it’s true;
I just want to believe
that if I stand on my roof
it doesn’t mean I’ll be buried.
I want to believe
we can roll the house over
like an infant
who is not supposed to sleep
on its stomach
but should lie on its back,
on the spring grass,
and watch the mourning doves
build their nests.

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