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COMMISSION BY ATTRITION/Bob Hicok Who's to say gravity isn't love? The landing was gracious, my jigsaw body intact but with all the honey-roasted peanuts I could fit in my pockets and this is embrace. This is 10,000 gallons of fuel to fly from one rental car to another, white Saturn, blue Sable, here clouds resemble Mickey Mantle at the plate, there Mick at the bar with highball. Imagine mountains colonizing the sky or river slinking off, the crenelated cityscape, picture 1-54321 blastoff, someone's Fed-Exed my hotel room, it arrives before me, premonition of comfy mattress, window facing fire escape, local news begins symphonic, ends with a puppy called Redemption. The Missouri Review · 45 I tell the story of gaskets, there's drama in valves, what they let in, keep out, and if you don't have filters, if air's just what it is and not what you tell it to be, if the little bones, the knives aren't removed from water before it enters your Amber's mouth, she might not reach the prom, can I put you down for a million, I'll pop for freight if you buy the next round. Who's to say my body isn't sacrifice, burger burger burger, what's a colon after all but temporary, some blood in the stool, some insomnia for my Amy, Todd who just discovered his voice is heroin to his mother, I come here and here is not here, there's no place I ever am and this is falling, who's to say love isn't a power suit, Power Book, coffee for breakfast lunch dinner coffee 46 · The Missouri Review Bob Hicok for the hollow bones, I'm falling into your life with brochures, will you catch my arrhythmia, take my calls, buy one more ball valve with neoprene seat than you'll ever need, my soul's at the airport, my body was sent to Dallas, I gave up luggage for Lent and carry my toothbrush in my useless chest. Bob Hicok The Missouri Review · 47 OUT OF NOTHING/Bob Hicok —for Alex I ate the spider jumply said my son and my son did, did not, I'll never reach behind his smile. He is head, arms, all the axioms of flesh, is Legos in ears and toothpaste in hair and soul, every singer molests the word, poets carry it around in their slingshots, just proof: he draws hair on the window for the moon, gave the pizza guy his favorite shoe, kisses the house good night. How any word gets in or out, why he built a prison for his sienna Crayola isn't chromosomally notched, I grunt and scratch and his mother can't sleep if numbers run loose in the checkbook, said my son let's wake the ants up daddy let's give them a bath. So I'm not so good at hating everything anymore, there you were 48 · The Missouri Review in the checkout sorting coupons, in the drive-thru trying to decide between large and small fries, breathing at the edge of my lawn, wearing your bowling shirt, holding the leash of your Republican beagle, I used to dial numbers and give advice, no one listened, that's how right I was. When he asks how dofish wrap their Christmas presents, the dead parts of me are zapped like Frankenstein, and wake, and blunder toward sentience, and when he sleeps I put my ear to his bed and listen, no one ever told me I'm alive. Bob Hicok The Missouri Review · 49 PYTHAGORAS IN THE NURSING HOME/ Bob Hicok I read aloud to my grandmother until I reached the drowning by Pythagoras of a man who revealed the square root of 2. By then she was eating the strawberries hidden in her cheeks, each grinding swallow contorting her face into a weight lifter's sneer. A patient's voice behind a nearby curtain periodically announced a number, the woman had been asked her weight and the question lodged in her mind as moths do in the tear of a screen, 233 she said and 5...


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