Wise Poets- Bob Hicok – Remedy

Bob Hicok

In deciding what I am, I’ve ruled out cat, vulture, shoe,
a sadist who tortures people to death in a Syrian hospital,
a president who separates families at the border,
a handful of purple irises at the beginning of the path
to heaven. Is there memory in the shade of a tree
of a lynching fifty years ago, when I was nine? And do I love
that tree? Love the sinner, not the sin. Forgive the electricity,
not the singeing of genitals. The more I know about human nature
the more I plan to be tall grass in a field. Until then
I’ll tell my wife I love her in Toronto and Blacksburg and bed,
in pajamas and bluejeans and song, in theory and fact and dream.
I will not gouge a man’s eye out, I promise, yet the eye is out,
the man is dead, and the geese I’m listening to have no idea
that we’re as wild as the coyotes that would tear them apart.
If given a choice I’d not choose to be human. If given a choice
how to be human, I’d say like a glass of water. While I have
no answers to the questions I don’t know to ask, I can love my wife
in Detroit, in general, in detail, in vain, in spite, in depth,
in the shallow light of the moon, in contrast to hating myself,
in sympathy and in stealth, in time as a ghost and right now
as a poet wondering if surgeons, during a transplant,
tell the shivering and recycled heart it is loved. I assume so,
but I’ve never asked a heart on its second time around,
Were you christened, were you blessed, are you worth
all this trouble?


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