My father's head has become a mystery to him.
We finally have something in common.
When he moves his head his eyes
get big as roses filled
with the commotion of spring.
Not long ago he was a man
who had tomato soup for lunch
and dusted with the earnestness
of a gun fight. Now he's a man
who sits at the table trying to breathe
in tiny bites. When they told him
his spinal column is closing, I thought
of all the branches he's cut
with loppers and piled and burned
in the fall, the pinch of the blades
on the green and vital pulp. Surgeons
can fuse vertebrae, a welders art,
and scrape the ring through which
the soul-wires flow as a dentist
would clean your teeth.
And still it could happen, one turn
of his head toward a hummingbird,
wings keeping that brittle life
afloat, working hard against the fall,
and he might freeze in that pose
of astonishment, a man estranged
from the neck down, who can only share
with his body the silence
he's pawned on his children as love.


About Bob Hicok


Bob Hicok is an American poet, born in 1960. He currently is an associate professor of creative writing at Virginia Tech. He is from Michigan and before teaching owned and ran a successful automotive die design business. His first book, The Legend of Light, (1995) was chosen by Carolyn Kizer for the 1995 Felix Pollak Prize. This book, published by the University of Wisconsin Press, was later chosen an ALA Booklist Notable Book of the Year. Plus Shipping followed in 1998. His 2001 release, Animal Soul, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has published two... Read more...

Poet of the day

Katherine Fowler was born on New Year's day, 1631 in London, England. Her father, John Fowler, was a Presbyterian merchant. Katherine was educated at one of the Hackney boarding-schools, where she became fluent in several languages. After the death of John Fowler, Katherine's mother married a Welshman, Hector Philips, and,...
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Poem of the day


One lovely name adorns my song,
And, dwelling in the heart,
Forever falters at the tongue,
And trembles to depart.


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