Friday, April 28, 2017

Bob Hicok Poem

by Bob Hicok

Anas and I had Oreos this morning, as we do

once a week, on the bench outside his store,

sharing them so we don’t get fat

(ter). Now and then, for a change,

Nutter Butters. Anas keeps a picture

of his mother above the register.

Right before he was shot three years ago

by a thief, he focused on her face.

Asked weeks later by a cop

what the man looked like, Anas thought

but didn’t say, Home. He told me that.

I told my wife, who told her mother,

who told her mother, who said, How lovely.

Even in her senility, her eyes sparked

to the word home. Anas’ wife is dead,

his mother, grandmother, but I’ve leant him

three generations of women

admiring his thoughts. Below

being a man, he’s Anas. Beneath

being Syrian, he prefers Paris.

Under wanting to get even, he doesn’t.

Retribution is like playing catch

with an egg. How far would we get with war

if every man first asked his mother,

Can I kill? Most of whom would say,

“It’s may I kill. And no, you may not.”

Bob Hicok's most recent book is Sex & Love & (Copper Canyon, 2016). Hold will be published by Copper Canyon in 2018.