|Bob Hicok [Narrative Magazine]|
One day I was introduced to a bed
in which a woman was born, gave birth, and died.
The woman who introduced me to the bed
was the granddaughter of the woman
who was born in the bed and never lived
in another house.
Being a child of wind, I whispered
in the company of so much permanence.
The woman found my reverence ridiculous.
I knew this because she took off her clothes
and got on the bed as a way of asking me
to join her in making the bed a living bed.
It was in that bed that the woman told me
she tried to kill herself at seventeen.
Lots of Valium under a tree with horses nearby
ignoring her to eat.
This is my second life, she said, the one I got
for not knowing more about drugs, for being shy
when it came to my father’s shotgun
in my mouth.
By then, she’d lived a hundred years
in dog years beyond when she’d wanted to die.
When I told her this, she said, Woof.
The bed squeaked each time we turned
or breathed our bodies into each other.
I keep asking myself if this story is true.
I seem to believe it is, seem to admire time
and making love on top of musical springs
and the world every day for not killing itself,
not exploding or burning down
as it might reasonably want to.
And the woman?
I seem to know her or contain her or think
the valley in which I live
would resemble her if someone had the language
to convince it to rise and be a woman
wearing a flowered dress.
Women are more likely to wear gardens
than men, to be valleys, to hold time
in their bodies and take us
inside what is passing
as it passes, what is arriving
as we leave.
And the man?
I seem to be him or want him
to be the feeling that stars
would look down on us and ask
What are you going through
if only they had mouths.