The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Bob Hicok

The home


Jimmy not his name would punch you if you tried
to reach around and wash him you had to act out
wiping your ass while he showered to get him
to wipe his own for about fifteen minutes
before he'd mirror your actions and even then
he sort of flicked the washcloth
in the general direction of the catastrophe
most of Jimmy's not his name life was spent
with an ass full of shit but he smiled
this hacksaw kind of smile that cut through
his stink and hating my life when I did
hate my life like yesterday I wanted out
to be a hawk or the shadow of a hawk
rippling over rippling water in his file
there was just one story it starred a hammer
after three years he let me wash his hair
with strawberry shampoo we both
liked strawberries who doesn't if you know
someone who doesn't run away from him
he probably can't swing an ax
properly or listen to the sky
with both ears I counted six divots
six places where Jimmy not his name
stopped the hammer's progress and changed
the energy of motion into the energy
of mute I'm going to call it joy
only to confound my gloom to confuse
the collapse of buildings the disappearance
of entire species with a good end
a reason what the hell why not I can pretend
with the second best of them that his smile
was worth its price in brain damage
you couldn't put it out with a fire truck
even the black eye he gave me my first day
my first time trying to give him a shower
came with this grenade of a grin
this rose this cherry on top




BOB HICOK's latest book Sex & Love & -- is just out from Copper Canyon.



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