Bob Hicok

A Place
December 16, 2011 Hicok Bob

A Place


As a foreigner, I wasted a lot of energy

being from somewhere else

when I could have been from there,

where the sea did yoga all day, one deep breath

after another, and the formal greeting

of smashing a tea cup was new to me.

The informal greeting was to have a thought,

such as the mind is a badass telephoto lens,

and whisper it up against an ear,

which in that moment, you were the only lover of,

and never speak of that thought again.

There was also this dead man

no one had it in them to bury, who as bones

was more beautiful than the tree

he was a pile of bones under. It was hard

with him to know where his ears were

when I came by, I sort of whispered

to all of him, how many birds

are afraid of heights, or good sex

is a lavishing of wordless praise. By the time

I’d lived there half my life, I found myself

answering the question, where were you born,

like this: dawn. The day before I left,

I sent myself a postcard that read,

I’m already missing how you’ll come

to believe you made yourself up. A thought

meant for the universe as much as me.

Bob Hicok is an associate professor of creative writing at Virginia Tech and of English at Purdue. His first book, The Legend of Light, was published by the University of Wisconsin Press and chosen as an ALA Booklist Notable Book of the Year. His books include Elegy Owed (2013) and Sex & Love & (2016), both from Copper Canyon Press.