Kara Dorris


A firefly is not a fly,
a prairie dog not a dog, catgut
not from a cat

Did you know baby sloths mistake
their own arms
for branches? Then fall & die. It is

the saddest thing. By which I mean
I understand that tendency,
to realize too late

what you’re reaching for is not
what you thought—
a funny bone not bone, a lead pencil
with no lead,
learning what it is by learning
what it isn’t

by which I mean, by the time you realize      
a falling star is not a star
it’s too late to stop wishing




So often we set our goals, reach for something we think we want and need only to realize—after we’ve attained it—that it wasn’t what we thought. Oftentimes, the language we use and encounter perpetuates this deception. The baby sloth, reaching for its arm thinking it’s a branch, seemed the perfect metaphor. Plus, who isn’t moved by babies and sloths?