By Bob Hicok
I know a woman about to lose her house.
It's not missing, she's certain
where the water shut-off valve is
and which stair squeaks when she goes up
at ten to rise at four. I promised myself
I wasn't going to do this, no one listens
to this kind of poem anyway,
it might as well be a sermon or the side
of a cereal box: "The Lord
has heard my cry for mercy," contents
may have settled during shipping. Now
she has to "Self-Store" her stuff
but doesn't have the geld to do so,
and her brother's stuff from his re-poed house
is already in their mother's basement, so she's sold
what she can and given the rest away
or left it on the street for neighbors
to pick at through January. Ever watch
the woman who backed over your cat
hold one of your dresses
across her winter coat, pinning it
with her chin and turning
as if in a mirror before rejecting
your sunflowers, dropping them
into the curbside thaw and moving on
to a pair of black pumps she'd be a fool
to wear, given the apples of her ankles?
Now caption that image "Redistribution of Wealth"
and write down on a piece of paper
how you'd change the world. You never
have to show that paper to anyone, not even
yourself, the god you are inside or pimp, the ax
in case of, the glass, to break, if fire
is emergency, is now. It's hard
being a Wobbly these days, liking the head
of Marx if not the fist grafted on, there's nowhere to go
to belt out "Look for the Union Label,"
an admittedly crappy, anachronistic song
I miss like I miss the sense
of being together in this, there was Rockefeller
and there was the rest of us, there was Aristotle
being right, we are political, we are animal,
we are lost.
Bob Hicok is the author of five collections of poems, including "This Clumsy Living" (2007), which won the 2008 Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress. Hicok has won Pushcart Prizes and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He once worked in the automotive die industry and has taught creative writing at Western Michigan University and Virginia Tech, where is currently an associate professor of English.