- Is for, to Hold
I didn't tell the water it was a pitchfork.I believe the water believed it was a tridenton account of the family resemblance.The road had disappeared, the field,the sundial was about to go under, meaning shadowswould have been unable to stay on schedule.When I touched the water with the pitchfork,it stopped rising, and for a week, an oceanlived in the valley. Birds landed on the oceanlike this is what an ocean is for, to hold.A few trees went by and a For Sale sign,I called the number, how much to buythis ocean? The pitchforkhad only turned over leaves and banana peelsinto compost. I let it sit with usat the table, fed it bratwurst and jaw breakers.During the last flood, someone dieddown the way, someone is always dyingwhen living is called for. We are not fish,goes the saying, anymore. My neighborwho lost his house, says it'll be awhilebefore he can stare a glass of water in the face.We are mostly water, mostly rain, people drownin themselves. The ocean's a river againand back where it sleeps. In the middle,a refrigerator's a new islandof cool & white. I wade into the music of caressand open the door, let water out into the water,it swims away, everything swims away,as the river nudges me, follow.
Bob Hicok's most recent collection is This Clumsy Living, published January 2007 by the University of Pittsburgh Press.
Ed. note: "Is for, to Hold" is from Hurricane Blues: Poems about Katrina and Rita (reviewed in this issue's "Books"), courtesy of Southern Missouri State University Press and the author.