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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 8: June 2021
Poem: 126 words
By Kika Dorsey


We are attuned to shadows. They strafe the shore.
—Allan Peterson*
The swallowtail has dots along its edge 
a shore of yellow teardrops, of stars 
against its black sea of night 

and the mourning coat turns the broken light 
to a lace edge, a stripe 
and I am dreaming of butterflies 

while throwing cornflower seeds 
onto the dark dirt patch 
framing my yard. 

My shadow stretches its wings 
weathers my shore 
taste of tar and molasses 

and the smelted sleep of grief 
greedy for the yellow light 
for the moored ship 

licked by waves 
that know no better 
than to swallow yellow 

and break it on its back 
its ambit, its breadth 
its warm speckled coat 

to stretch winged night 
along every day 
without you. 



Epigraph is from “Swallowtails” by Allan Peterson, a poem in his collection All the Lavish in Common (University of Massachusetts Press, 2006).

Kika Dorsey
Issue 8, June 2021

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: 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). 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

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Bed of Ashes, prose poem by Kika Dorsey in KYSO Flash (Issue 10, Fall 2018)

Run Dry, poem from Occupied: Vienna Is a Broken Man, & Daughter of Vienna in Issue 5 of MacQueen’s Quinterly (October 2020)

Guest Post by Kika Dorsey about her latest book, in The Copperfield Review (21 October 2020)

The Quink of an Eye, prose poem in MacQ-5 (October 2020)

Hormonal, micro-fiction in MacQ’s debut issue (January 2020)

“My Belly Is Pregnant with Night”: A Micro-Review of Kika Dorsey’s Rust by Clare MacQueen in KYSO Flash (Issue 6, Fall 2016)

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