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  • Kara Dorris

Mouth & Bee

Mouth & Bee

To say it looks like a zombie devouring

the intestines of a My Little Pony

or Persephone consuming the underworld

fruit is too easy, & although I prefer easy, an anesthetic

that lets you erase yourself, somehow,

I can’t choose it. Perhaps I am split, like her,

like that pomegranate, both dead & alive,

the in between purgatory of maybe.

If I must answer, I’d say it looks like indecision

as color wheel: red, fuchsia, molten,

indecision as a child choosing words like crayons,

coloring beyond the lines, that first fuck you.

As erasure until the mouth is what it is:


As a striped umbrella, scaffold-less.

As ripped fletching of arrow when arrows are words.

As silence of lambs. As Rorsach test.

Does this look like courage to you?

As word trying to imitate its interpreters.

As the nothingness of abundance,

as transformation,

as the multiplicity of mouth

& sting.

Kara Dorris earned a PhD in literature and poetry at the University of North Texas. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of English at Illinois College. Her full-length collection, Have Ruin, Will Travel, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. She has also published four chapbooks: Elective Affinities (dancing girl press, 2011), Night Ride Home (Finishing Line Press, 2012), Sonnets from Vada’s Beauty Parlor & Chainsaw Repair (dancing girl press, 2018), and Untitled Film Still Museum (CW Books, 2019). 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).

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