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About this Poem 

"This poem was written for Elaina and Ash. Those are aliases for Betty and Veronica. Which are aliases for Gertrude and Alice. Come to think of it, I don't know who this poem was written for or who I am. But you, I know who you are. You're an amazing juggler. Look at all those chainsaws and neuroses and dreams you keep in the air."
—Bob Hicok

Happy first anniversary (in anticipation of your thirty ninth)

I don't have much time. I'm an important person
to chickadees and mourning doves, whose feeder 
was smashed last night by a raccoon. Soon 
I'll be wielding duct tape, noticing the dew, 
wanting to bathe in it, hoping the awkwardness 
of yesterday (three instances of people talking 
with bear traps for mouths) never repeats itself 
and we all go forward as if to a party 
for a five year old who refuses to smash candy 
out of a burro. It's too cute, the burro, too real 
for him not to ask his mother, can I keep it, 
and when the other children cry, they're given 
lake front property, it works out, this 
is what I see for you, the working out. Think of the year 
behind you as a root or think of going to Spain 
and feeling sorry for bulls or don't think, 
this isn't the SATs, don't think but stay. 
Stay happy, honest, stay as tall as you are 
as long as you can using giraffes if you need to 
to see each other above the crowd. I have these moments 
when I realize I'm not breathing, my wife 
is never why I'm not breathing and always why 
I want to lick a human heart, remember that each of you 
is half of why your bed will sag toward the middle 
of being a boat and that you both will sag 
if you're lucky together, be lucky together 
and acquire in sagging more square footage 
to kiss and to hold. And always remember 
that I hate you for being so much closer 
than I am to where none of us ever get to go 
again - first look, first touch, first 
inadvertent brush of breath or hair, first time 
you turned over and looked at who was surprising 
you by how fully she was there.

Copyright © 2013 by Bob Hicok. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on December 13, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Bob Hicok. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on December 13, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Bob Hicok

Bob Hicok

Bob Hicok was born in 1960. His poetry collection This Clumsy Living (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007) was awarded the 2008 Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress. 

by this poet

A bee in the field. The house on the mountain 
reveals itself to have been there through summer. 
It's not a bee but a horse eating frosted grass 
in the yawn light. Secrets, the anguish of smoke 
above the chimney as it shreds what it's learned 
of fire. The horse has moved, it's not a horse 
but a woman doing
It’s interesting to me there’s a minimum
but no maximum wage. One without the other
seems like pants without legs or love
without someone to love. So what
are the groups? People
who want no minimum or maximum wage;
people who want a minimum
but no maximum wage; people
who want a minimum
and maximum wage; and

If you think of humans as rare
as snowflakes, your world
is constantly melting.

If you think of humans as essential
to keeping dogs happy,
someone will always want
to buy you a beer.