By BOB HICOK
I meant to be taller,
I tell my tailor, who tells my teller,
who cashes my check all in ones
to suit the height of my ambition.
And kinder, I tell my trainer,
who trains my tailor and my teller too
to look better wetter and dryer, kinder
to people and blue skies, moles
and republicans, even though
it takes more muscles to smile
than tell someone to fuck off.
I ask my tuner to listen to my head
and tell me if it sounds out of sorts,
she says a man’s not a piano
and cries, for wouldn’t that be nice,
a man you can sit in front of
and play like Satie turning a piano
into a river speaking to its mother,
the rain, late at night. But she’s sweet,
my tuner, and tightens a few strings
in my back just to get the old tinka-tinka
up to snuff before she kisses me
on the cheek. Life. I think that’s
what this is, the glow
where she smacked her lips to my skin,
birds acting surprised that the sun
has sought them out once again,
and me looking in my closet
in the morning and choosing
the suit of snails over the suit of armor.
Who remind me to go slow,
to savor, as if they know.
Bob Hicok’s most recent book is Hold (2018).