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.

Twenty Truths to Outlast the Sun by Dana Kinsey

Twenty Truths to Outlast the Sun

~Emily Dickinson and Ms. Lauryn Hill converse

E. I am out with lanterns looking for myself.
L. I made up my mind to define my own destiny.

E. Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door.
L. Tomorrow, our seeds will grow. All we need is dedication.

E. Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul.
L. After winter must come spring. Change, it comes eventually.

E. The poet lights the light and fades away.
L. Oh, you inspire me to be the higher me.

E. We never know how high we are till we are called to rise.
L. You are my peace of mind. That old me is left behind.

E. I am nobody! Who are you? Are you a nobody too?
L. Don’t be a hard rock when you really are a gem.

E. Pardon my sanity in a world insane.
L. You know I only say it because I’m truly genuine.

E. Friends are nations in themselves.
L. And I thank you for choosing me.

E. Our brains are wider than the sky.
L. What a joy it is to be alive.

E. I felt it shelter to speak to you.
L. Wisdom is better than silver and gold.


Dana Kinsey is a writer, actor, and teacher with poetry published by Yellow Chair Review, Broadkill Review, For Women Who Roar, Writers Resist, Spillwords, Fledgling Rag, and Silver Needle Press. Her prose appears in Teaching Theatre and Tweetspeak. Dana’s play, WaterRise, was produced at the Gene Frankel Theatre in Greenwich Village for the Radioactive Women’s Festival. Visit http://www.wordsbyDK.com.