Monday, December 4, 2006

Two Poems: Kika Dorsey

I am the Gatherer

My son carries the hunter inside of him
the way a stegasaurus carries his tiny walnut-sized
brain; preciously he craves any story of sharks
or tyrannosaurus rex, how their pointed teeth
could rip meat, how fast they could run. He carries
his hammer and swishes it through the air like
a claw and growls “aahrrr…” My son kicks his
sister and bares his teeth at her; he’s in a savannah
amongst large plodding saurapods,
and he is the allosaur attacking them. He snatches up
his stuffed puppy and announces that he is a wolf,
the harmony of his body merciless, the poor
puppy oblivious of his doom. But in the evening
he slips onto my lap and says
“I’m a baby dinosaur” and I take him in my arms,
my little reptile. I gather him to me like a lapful
of berries because he is the hunter, and I am
the gatherer, I am the large skull, I am the shelter.

* * * * *


As if making a career of pain they fall
constantly, my small children, as if traveling
from air to ground and then weeping were
a rehearsal for the performance of life—up, down—
like the rhythm that created them, a drumbeat
of flesh, like stone against earth, woodpecker
against tree, dream against daylight, weeping
against laughter. My daughter has purple
bruises and bumps on her forehead while our
lilacs open to mirror her marks, my son too is
covered in marks of play, little supernovas on
his galaxy of flesh. I know their bodies by heart,
but each fall brings a new sentence in their skin’s
language, sometimes taking me by surprise, as
if saying I am vulnerable, separate, I am bludgeoned
by the world.

But in this life we must live, does it not pay to fall,
to feel the hardness of ground, to know we are alive
in a city of concrete or a country of soil and grass.
my children fall with their hands splayed out in
front of them, embracing the air, they fall
gently on grass, hard and fast against park benches,
they fall gracefully, joylessly, they fall
with courage in their throats, with daring in their limbs,
they fall to hear the full volume of their inner fugue,
to hear their voices like the teeth of wolves bite
through the air, they fall
to assure themselves of their mother’s lap, their falling
the absence of maternal protection, a door
into the world where the palm that scoops clay
makes fire, an unstable element, and in time hardens
the pot with which we cook, that hand that will
lightly fling aside mountains and bury the dead, that
hand on the body which through falling
will rule its world.

~ Kika Dorsey's poetry has been published in Anyone is Possible, Coffeehouse Poetry: An Anthology, Between the Lines, The Denver Quarterly, The California Quarterly, among others. She has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Washington in Seattle and has taught writing, film, and literature at the University of Washington, the University of Colorado in Boulder, and Metropolitan State College in Denver.

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