Why I Couldn’t Give You Away by Dana Kinsey

Why I Couldn’t Give You Away

You lapped every other pretty dream
I embraced 30 autumns ago,
then broke the finish line ribbon,
declaring us victors as our eyes locked
out the world & opened to each other
in a photo finish no one could dispute.

That Polaroid the nurse snapped
redevelops every time I conjure it —
you, a swaddled promise in pink
striped blanket & I contemplating
if you knew just how close I was
to gifting you to a childless couple
who paced in the waiting room
because I loved their love story
more than the one I imagined.

It took 28 hours to separate us,
shove us toward the unimaginable
murky crystal ball where you never
talked of Thumbelina at the bus stop,
cut off one pigtail to make kids laugh,
memorized play lines or learned how
one stage light feels like a million
days of sunshine on a deserted beach.

You felt the last drop of my resolve
dissolve as I cuddled you near
enough to feel your breath heat
the hollow under my chin where
your head tucked neatly into place
as you settled in above my heart.

The truth is I had no way to be sure
if selfishness or devotion surged
in me or what grace I deserved till you
walked your fingers up my cheek,
stopped when they absorbed all
gray-soaked days I could recall.


Dana Kinsey is an actor and teacher published in Writers Resist, Drunk Monkeys, ONE ART, On the Seawall, Porcupine Literary, Sledgehammer Lit, West Trestle Review, and Prose Online. Dana’s play, WaterRise, was produced at the Gene Frankel Theatre. Her chapbook, Mixtape Venus, is published by I. Giraffe Press. Visit wordsbyDK.com.

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