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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 10: October 2021
Poem: 163 words
By Kika Dorsey

Listen and Silent

Listen and silent 
are made of the same letters, 

s for the winding road snaking through canyons 
i the ibis perched on a cow in the savannah 
l the languid stretch at the end of a day 
e the empty vase you will fill with tulips 
n the not you choose before acts of anger 
t the turn of the clock’s hour hand. 

I’ve paced pregnant in a hospital 
waiting for my cervix to open 
like the mouth of a god 
surprised by his own creation. 
I’ve given birth 
and wound through the snake-curves of streets, 
traveled to Belize where the ibis ate seed, 
days languid nursing on benches 
and winters empty of bloom. 
I have not repeated the same words when you frowned 
and I’ve turned hours into dust and bone 

when the empty silence 
transformed my body 
into children 
and I listened to birdsong 
louder than my voice 
and more beautiful 
than anything I could ever say. 

Kika Dorsey
Issue 10, October 2021

is a poet and fiction writer in Boulder, Colorado, and lives with her two children, husband, and pets. Her books include the chapbook Beside Herself (Flutter Press, 2010) and three full-length collections: two from Word Tech Editions, Rust (2016) and Coming Up for Air (2018), and one from Pinyon Publishing, Occupied: Vienna is a Broken Man and Daughter of Hunger (2020), the latter of which won the Colorado Authors’ League Award for best poetry collection. Her poems have been published in Freshwater, KYSO Flash, The Columbia Review, The Comstock Review, The Denver Quarterly, The Pennsylvania Literary Journal, and numerous other journals and books. Her writing has been nominated five times for the Pushcart Prize.

An instructor of English at Front Range Community College, Ms. Dorsey also 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.

Author’s website: http://kikadorsey.com

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