Kara Dorris


If I went back to 1994 & killed a girl
I know just the girl to kill

When I think of her, I think of
the one before

the one after
the metal bed of his truck
the awful splash off his dock

She sat underneath spring awnings
Texas cheese fries & Dr. Pepper

thinking of words to murder priests
not girls, not then

Her wide sleeves scraped the ground,
mining shafts

songs like sobbing,
that's what she said

Her hands soiled, our minds,
black sky, our lungs

Her soiled hands on my back
as we lower to the ground

grit through silk, her hands, nothing else
hands & air

& then her mother's silence after catching
her shirt off with a boy
would be just another quiet day

& then she never would have worn
her boyfriend's X-large, lost herself
in the folds of someone else's clothes

or let crickets jump into her jeans
or cried in French learning ma petit ami

Instead maybe her calcium might have built
her habitat for humanity
formed bumper lanes to roll
fat balls of her DNA & everything else against,
a Kevlar vest

how opposite & contradictory

it all came on so gradually, she'd been raised
as delicate
didn't know deformed trumps pretty

* * *


Saturate hair & legs, be motion
Blur formerly known as girl

I know, Cameraman says, shutter this
& I do shudder standing on the corner
in the heart of taxi-less winter

If a girl came here & bit the dust
what star-dusting would she be
something worth killing for

Cameraman says
we can only really see through water

I wonder at the tightness of debris
knee-high boots & cowboy jeans

to be nude, the way she flies through space

Cameraman says, exposure is key
You have to be vertical at the demolition
site, a willing exhibition

Cameraman says, remember, think in negatives
The worst coma: a stand-still pose
What the airbrush feature is for

Relax, Cameraman says,
what's your favorite book, word, color, wish

Only when she's dead
can he study her like a Magritte

not-so-bullet-proof vest


Kara Dorris is a doctoral candidate at the University of North Texas. She received her MFA from New Mexico State University. Her poetry has appeared in The Tusculum Review, Carte Blanche, Wicked Alice, Prick of the Spindle, Harpur Palate, Tulane Review, Parcel, Cutbank and Skidrow Penthouse among others literary journals. Her chapbook, Elective Affinities, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press (2011). She is also the editor of Lingerpost, an online journal.