Kara Dorris

Beauty’s Pulley System

(listen to the poem, read by the author)

I’ve looked to sky, at Google’s search return
for walking the line.    Why I must sing

q to find z,. I’ve always wanted to believe
in compasses, strings between

here & there, in play-therapy. In fate as
a well-thought-out outline.

I’ve imagined the equator as yellow paint,
a looping highway & a sweaty man

divining a tractor. Round & round he inks
only hitting the same spot yearly,

pulling double duty, eyes high etching skyline.
Talk about infinite repair, a Sisyphean

joy ride.      But I don’t know what x
I’ve solved for to find this y, what formula—

first,  outside,      inside,    last.
I’ve wanted to believe in tethers between

everything. Guide ropes in the artic. Ziplines
of safety, infinity bow ties tightening

& tightening. But the world is not
a halo recharging itself.     There are lines

within the body, a pulley system, that grant us
acceptance of our off-kilteredness.

But what do I know? I’m tugging
on the lines right now, pulling too hard

       with my dominant hand.

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About the Author

Kara Dorris is the author of two poetry collections: Have Ruin, Will Travel (2019) and When the Body is a Guardrail (2020) from Finishing Line Press. She has also published five chapbooks including Carnival Bound [or, please unwrap me] co-written with Gwendolyn Paradice (The Cupboard Pamphlet, 2020). Her poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, DIAGRAM, Hayden Ferry Review, Wordgathering, RHINO, Tinderbox, Tupelo Quarterly, Puerto del Sol, and Crazyhorse, among others literary journals, as well as the anthology Beauty is a Verb (2011). Her prose has appeared in Waxwing and the anthology The Right Way to be Crippled and Naked (2016). For more information, please visit karadorris.com, follow Kara on Twitter, or visit Kara’s Instagram page.