“A Family Matter” by Bob Hicok

Bob Hicok

A FAMILY MATTER

Of course, when my mother asked
that I give my wife a kiss for her, I did so,
telling my wife, I am my mother, kissing you.
My wife’s mother, it turns out, had asked the same,
so of course she told me, I am my mother,
kissing you back. When we informed our mothers later
that they had kissed as lesbians
through heterosexual proxy
beside our cat’s sense that something
like a mouse or with the potential
to be a mouse would eventually move
through the spot she was staring at,
where nothing was or had ever been, as far
as the record shows, my mother asked, was tongue
involved? My wife and I consulted the log
but there was no entry. We shrugged
at our mothers and went about our lives,
though now with an awareness
there are gaps we’ll never fill
that may or may not have tongues in them,
though given a vote, I say yes, tongues, red
like our mouths are where flames go
to be alone.

from Rattle #30, Winter 2008