When I was a kid there was this tree I liked.
On its birthday I’d mark how tall it was
against the sky, just as my parents
asked a door jamb to memorize my progress
toward an unsettled mind. Yesterday
I read how mountains are made
to some deer. When I feel messy
either I take a broom to my head
or do this kind of outreach.
They’re used to my voice
and I’m used to sitting alone
with ruminants. They chew
and look up for danger
and chew. All this slaughter
of grass and no one minds. In theory
their outer peace can become my inner peace
and I was a monarch in another life.
I flit and flew all the way to Mexico
and died. Do you know the word orogeny?
“The process of mountain formation
or upheaval.” The deer didn’t either.
One day I read to them
and the next test their vocabulary
to make sure they ignore me.
The tree got too big for me
but not the sky. They still live together
as far as I know. I want too much
and know I want too much
but am unable to put away desire.
If I sound defeated, I apologize:
I was going for broken.
Read Bob Hicok’s “Maybe I shouldn’t write the cheer, just iron the uniforms instead,” “An undervalued part of the skill set,” “Emotigraph,” and “You sit on a roof because that’s where stars look for you first” in the print edition of The Arkansas International 6.
Bob Hicok’s ninth book, Hold, is just out from Copper Canyon.