“How the Mirror Looks This Morning” by Bob Hicok

Bob Hicok


Probably the size of the six volt
made it seem life-giving. I had wires, a drawer
of red and green and black wires
in a thicket where socks belonged,
I had this idea that a six volt battery
would bring the cat back to life
and cut it down from where it hung

but nothing, even when I put wires
in anus and mouth, even when I touched
the Xs of its eyes
with copper. I can ask now
why I believed that,
or why I killed the cat
in the first place, or why can’t I travel
at the speed of sound? The kitty
that comes around every evening for food
purrs closer and closer
to my rehabilitation. God, on the other hand,

sent a train into a bus last night,
if you believe in God, in trains, in time
as something that can be broken down
into units, and spoken of, and held
as much as anything can be held,
can anything be held
that doesn’t cut through what asks
to hold it? Twenty-two dead,
and yet I think of myself
as a happy person.

from Rattle #32, Winter 2009


Bob Hicok: “I think of myself as a failed writer. There are periods of time when I’ll be happy with a given poem or a group of poems, but I, for the most part, detest my poems. I like writing. I love writing, and I believe in myself while I am writing; I feel limitless while I’m writing.”

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