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About this Poem 

"This poem was written for Elaina and Ash. Those are aliases for Betty and Veronica. Which are aliases for Gertrude and Alice. Come to think of it, I don't know who this poem was written for or who I am. But you, I know who you are. You're an amazing juggler. Look at all those chainsaws and neuroses and dreams you keep in the air."
—Bob Hicok

Happy first anniversary (in anticipation of your thirty ninth)

I don't have much time. I'm an important person
to chickadees and mourning doves, whose feeder 
was smashed last night by a raccoon. Soon 
I'll be wielding duct tape, noticing the dew, 
wanting to bathe in it, hoping the awkwardness 
of yesterday (three instances of people talking 
with bear traps for mouths) never repeats itself 
and we all go forward as if to a party 
for a five year old who refuses to smash candy 
out of a burro. It's too cute, the burro, too real 
for him not to ask his mother, can I keep it, 
and when the other children cry, they're given 
lake front property, it works out, this 
is what I see for you, the working out. Think of the year 
behind you as a root or think of going to Spain 
and feeling sorry for bulls or don't think, 
this isn't the SATs, don't think but stay. 
Stay happy, honest, stay as tall as you are 
as long as you can using giraffes if you need to 
to see each other above the crowd. I have these moments 
when I realize I'm not breathing, my wife 
is never why I'm not breathing and always why 
I want to lick a human heart, remember that each of you 
is half of why your bed will sag toward the middle 
of being a boat and that you both will sag 
if you're lucky together, be lucky together 
and acquire in sagging more square footage 
to kiss and to hold. And always remember 
that I hate you for being so much closer 
than I am to where none of us ever get to go 
again - first look, first touch, first 
inadvertent brush of breath or hair, first time 
you turned over and looked at who was surprising 
you by how fully she was there.

Copyright © 2013 by Bob Hicok. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on December 13, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Bob Hicok. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on December 13, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Bob Hicok

Bob Hicok

Bob Hicok was born in 1960. His poetry collection This Clumsy Living (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007) was awarded the 2008 Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress. 

by this poet

At the desk where the boy sat, he sees the Chicago River.
It raises its hand.
It asks if metaphor should burn.
He says fire is the basis for all forms of the mouth.
He asks, why did you fill the boy with your going?
I didn't know a boy had been added to me, the river says.
Would you have given him back if you

A little bit of hammering
goes a long way toward making
the kind of noise I want my heart
to look up to—or have you ever
gone into a woods and applauded the light
that fights its way to the ground,
and the shadows, and the explosions
of feathers where blue jays
have been

A few hours after Des Moines
the toilet overflowed.
This wasn't the adventure it sounds.

I sat with a man whose tattoos
weighed more than I did.
He played Hendrix on mouth guitar.
His Electric Ladyland lips
weren't fast enough
and if pitch and melody
are the rudiments of music,
this was just
memory, a body