There are so many gates:
thatched brown gates that open to rice fields,
white wooden gates to keep in the dogs,
wrought-iron black gates to castles,
gates that open like mouths
gates that slam shut and lock,
gate of heaven to shut me out.

The gate that was mine
was on a white picket fence
that the palm reader had teased me about
before it came into my life,
said how I wanted it but would feel trapped—
babies, a house, all that struggle—
said I was crazy,
he could see it in the etched lines of my hands,
fist revealing my two children.

And we had the fence and the gate
three years later,
husband a painter as white as the fence,
I always pregnant and nursing with white milk
of a mother’s lonely giving,
closing the gate to keep the gray dog in,
to keep the children safe.
You see, being a mother shuts you in.
Don’t let them tell you otherwise.

Now our gates are high,
two of them on a gray fence
weathered like my hands
from the cold, Colorado winters.
Every face I know is a gate,
and the sad sky nods no to me
with its white clouds when I try to open it.

And maybe I am crazy,
because I just want to be swallowed
by another space, want to climb
into the mouth of a land and sleep
with a golden key in my pocket,
as blackbirds land on me and sing.

Kika Dorsey is a poet and professor from Boulder, Colorado. Her poetry has been published in numerous journals including KYSO Flash, Indiana Voice Journal, Dr. T.J. Eckleburg Review, and Narrative Northeast among others. Her full-length collection, Rust, is forthcoming with Word Tech Editions. When not writing, teaching, and parenting teenagers, she runs and hikes in the plains and mountains near her Colorado home.