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DEEP BREATHS/BO& Hicok I adored a waitress who smeUed Uke grease. Kissing her was like kissing a BLT. When she came home Td sit on the tub as she washed the black waterfall of her hair. Often we used forks and hands to eat and to kiU the roaches who bunked with us we used books and pans, often we just shooed. She had a zydeco smile and would be happy a long while as each blade of grass must be tickled swaUowmg sun. Then Td find her late on the porch or naked at the bus stop, the wild luck of her face gone wrong, winter for days took the shape of her head, her shadow walked the floors after she'd gone to bed. Today she'd have a flotiUa of pUls to go with the tides of her hips. One night she wanted to make love to the songs of whales, who knew the sound of longing is the sound of a piano being tuned under water. Sex isn't the answer to everything but I don't remember asking questions. It was the way she smeUed, pancakes and milk shakes but deeper, head to toe I breathed Ui 168 · The Missouri Review what I knew was home, hours later I couldn't help drawing my fingers to my face. The night she woke me with lighthouse eyes and said let's go to Baja, I laughed and rolled back to dream. Within a week she'd bought a car more rust than speed and left to touch whales, the skin of mystery. You know the saying, if you can keep your head whUe those around you lose theirs, that just means you're taUer. Bob Hicok The Missouri Review «169 MANNERS/Bob Hicok It was late because I love late. Late you get stars if they're in stock or fog, something for light to cling to like a plastic bag does a branch In wind. I have no faith before 10:00 P.M. In the park I Uke the Doughboy. His statue is taU and bronze and has no bullet Ui it. This is recommended for a soldier, the going unshot. Flesh or metal it's a winning combination, the shape of a body undisturbed by a projectile of any caliber. The statue is good for tapping a cigarette against. The foot Ui particular. If you've never smoked imagine an average-size hand slapping your head. That would be mine If we were sitting together Ui a bar or on a car ferry and you said nope, never took a puffuna winked at me all proud. I understand hating cigarette smoke but tobacco does a lovely dance Ui the mouth. So once a year or twice or seven times In a decade I glom a Camel and rip the filter off and go for a walk. To the statue. To the park when it's late because nothing's owned late. Not buildings or lawns or hydrants In their loneliness for fire. Cities empty, some entirely unless you lift the streets to find the people sleeping underneath. In my park alone with my bronze friend and cigarette I was not alone. The sounds are unmistakable m hindsight. Sudden intake of breath. Gurgling and wet slapping Uke a frog being spanked. I heard these and knew I was hearing these. But awhUe it took for a picture to form. When I stood and looked over the hedge, smoke curling around my face, I saw one man on his knees giving another man head. This is not the Ultimate part. Why I remember the night is they both looked at me, the busy man 170 · The Missouri Review directly and the happy man by leaning back until we appeared upside down to each other. They were both barefoot, probably Ui their fifties. We aU knew by the speed and sound the commotion was almost over. As the man came I watched them and they watched me. Td never seen a man come, was surprised how siUy pleasure looks, a void we get stuck In. The man on his knees took out a kerchief and wiped...


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