Home improvement in memoriam
Two poets died this past month
I knew in person a little and a lot
by what they wrote about forests and saints.
Their deaths got me over the hump
of swapping out the hollow plastic doors
in my house for solid oak, which I wanted to do
for years but only now does the genuine
shine as worth whatever trouble it takes
to match the old hinge locations to the new doors.
I've done one, and for days as I glide
through the house, I'm pulled to the bedroom
to touch the revelations of the grain,
or I'll be out counting falling leaves
for the annual inventory or riding on a deer
across the field when I think of the door
and become convinced that someone--not me--
will live forever or at least
have their growth penciled onto that door jamb
and come back before they die to kiss
the stages of reaching their life went through,
long after I'm gone and no one knows
all the places I've buried dead cats
around this yard, not just because I love animals
and digging holes, but those are two reasons
to do a lot of things: feed the birds
and elephants if ever they arrive, and move dirt
from one hiding place to another,
to honor the spirit of the unsettled earth.
212 The Paris-American
Bob Hicok's ninth collection, Hold, will be published by Copper Canyon Press in 2018. A two time finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and recipient of the Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress, he’s also been awarded a Guggenheim and two NEA Fellowships.