Under Construction

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 mans not a piano 
and cries, for wouldnt 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 shes 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
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). 

[Purchase Issue 17 here.]

Under Construction

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ISABEL MEYERS
In his thirty years of work in publishing, my grandfather never... revealed to his colleagues he was gay. Doing so could have cost him his job as a children's book editor... It took me only ten minutes, in a phone interview with [his] publishing house, to accidentally out him.