Elegy for the empty we cannot say By Kara Dorris

Elegy for the empty we cannot say

The snow cannot hide
disappointment over the idle
& the dead. & it’s true
we too have nothing to offer
but a soft-wet emptiness
snow already understands.
We let our ditches
become washed-out bridges.
Our road-kill, trophy mirages.
Let gold meridians
& guardrails disintegrate
into breadcrumbs & suggestion.
We mountain weightlessness
into weight, lone into loneliness.
We learn to pull on flak jackets
& silence gracefully
without gracing our skin.
We learn to tread with stealth.
Earrings jangle
like an aftermath of traps.
But still, the snow cannot forgive us
easy captives, fat depressives
lost in surrender. We cannot
forgive each other.
Snow days remind us why
we long to drive into a volcano
or drive-in movie
to forget our weight makes
its own ghost in snow.
We simply cannot give
each other what we need.
It’s not that we don’t know how
but that we refuse
to be someone we are not,
the other refuses too.

By Kara Dorris


Kara Dorris earned a PhD in literature and poetry at the University of North Texas where she teaches writing. Her poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Southword, The Tusculum Review, Harpur Palate, Cutbank, Tinderbox, KYSO Flash, 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 and the anthology The Right Way to be Crippled and Naked (Cinco Puntos Press, 2016). She has published two chapbooks: Elective Affinities (Dancing Girl Press, 2011) and Night Ride Home (Finishing Line Press, 2012). She is also the editor of Lingerpost, an online poetry journal.

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