Bob Hicok

Busy bees | Torture
June 9, 2015 Hicok Bob

Busy bees


I like being around people who believe
in eternity. Not for long. An hour or so.
They remind me of vacationers
convinced the lake will always be there.
The sun. The little girl
trying to catch a fish with her hands.
Sometimes she does. Later, as a woman,
she gets up and goes to a winter window,
traces a fish in the condensation
and remembers the insistence
of its last breaths, the body
she held away from the larger body
it belonged to, returns
to the man in bed and bites him,
hoping he will call her cruel.
If that seems like a little play
I just dreamed up, what do you make
of the bite mark on my thigh, or the woman
with her back to me now, crying?
I make everything of her. Everything I can
as long as I can. I’m no smarter
than that fish grinding its gills
against the air. That’s all I’m doing
when I kiss her back, her front,
when I live within the gravity
of her bones. But day and night,
that’s what I’m doing.
If there were always the chance
to cherish later, would we now?





Can I climb the snow? Meant to ask
as a kid. I’m asking now, before my mind
is completely redacted. Climb
as it falls, so faster and lighter
than the invention of crystals.
Redacted, blacked by Alzheimer’s
invisible pen, turning me
into a transcript of absences. As of now,
I can still point in the mirror and know
who my accuser is. Have you lived
like a horse chasing a faster horse?
Have tried to, and will. But no matter
the size of the star in my heart,
eventually I won’t recognize snow
or the boy standing in it.

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.