“Going Big” by Bob Hicok

Bob Hicok


For Hanukkah,
for my wife, I tried putting candles
on the antlers of deer.

It’s not that I believe in God:
I believe in light, and deer,
and a man pulling his weight
in the adaptation of the species.

I believe antlers
the most natural menorah,
in a twelve point buck
glowing in falling snow, in hunters
dropping their rifles to their sides,
in the cool air
cupping our faces in its hands.

To say it didn’t work is to miss
that I got to know how to wait
for deer, which is different
than waiting for bear, or love,
or a phrase of sufficient tenderness
to capture the evanescence of life
to arrive, and last beyond the feeling
nothing lasts.

Light lasts.

Light runs and runs
without tiring or giving up, the universe
is bigger now, and now, and now,
just as intimacy grows
when my wife lights candles
with a scarf over her head,
holds her hands up to the light
while repeating a prayer
repeated millions of times,
adding to the distance
the words have traveled
and the complicated life
they’ve lived, and better still,
reminding me there’s a bloom
in her face only I can see
in this light, so yes,
I know what luck is.

from Rattle #59, Spring 2018


Bob Hicok: “I like starting poems. After I start a poem, I like getting to the middle, and after the middle, an end seems a good thing to reach. When the end is reached, I like doing everything that isn’t writing poems, until the next day, when my desk is exactly where I left it, though I am a slightly different person than the last time we met.” (web)

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