If Revolutions Devolve into Terror
If so, and the night washes us of our collective mind, why do the crows
know to stay together on the oak tree in the winter, terror the ice enshrining
its bare branches, roadkill on the street they share, bats overhead
swooping so fast that only an individual mind can perceive them
while crows sleep together but we never see their bodies in the dark,
black feather against black night. I asked you about Kant’s
categorical imperative, to act in accordance with rules that can
hold for everyone. I said, This is how I try to live, as long as the rules
demand kindness and not supplication to authority. Outside an old man
in a wheelchair rolls on ice toward the door of the dentist office
and I hold it open for him. But at night sometimes the guillotine falls
when I dream of driving in the snow and not checking my speed,
running into the oak tree and you with your big hands on your eyes,
weeping in the passenger seat. I’ve never known equanimity
except when my ideals settled in my hips or grew lush long before
the harvest, maybe without it; maybe the stalks of corn tip
and enter the soil like the romantic power of imagination or
the transcendence without the abstract ideal to name it, consume it.
When we give up the road to understanding we cease to see the world,
housing our fears of the unknown in oak trees that grow so familiar,
satellites becoming our celestial bodies. Yet God is written outside of Reason
and a niggling feeling that all you have done has been worth it,
even the devolutions that taught you reason’s limitations.
I have found a home. I have learned the crow’s detachment
from any symbol in its murder, and I have driven to a madness
where we should all at some point go. The amber light of exhaust and sunset,
the stretching light waves, set my body on fire, and the crows,
balancing on a patina of ice, drink the light and do not give it back.
By Kika Dorsey
Kika Dorsey is a poet and fiction writer in Boulder, Colorado. She has a PhD in Comparative Literature and her books include the chapbook Beside Herself and three full-length collections: Rust, Coming Up for Air, and Occupied: Vienna is a Broken Man and Daughter of Hunger, which won the Colorado Authors’ League Award for best poetry collection. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times. Currently, she is a lecturer at the University of Colorado in literature and creative writing. Her novel, As Joan Approaches Infinity. In addition, she works as a writing coach and ghostwriter. In her free time she swims miles in pools and runs and hikes in the open space of Colorado’s mountains and plains.