Bob Hicok
After looking up into one too many cameras

When the bones of my arm were emptied I began

to hover, a man becoming his own kite.

Along the street I flew my arm above myself,

reached toward stars if night and stars

if day. I can imagine it appeared


that my arm was trying to pull me

free of something, something like drowning

but there was no water. I was trying

to say there are no secrets left.

I could have said, there are no secrets left,


but the idea of removing one bone at a time

and emptying it and putting it back

felt like a crime, a kind of burglary,

and breaking and entering would make

the point that we have no privacy


better than saying we have no privacy.

Every night a new bone and every night

I kissed the things I removed, an estuary

from my hips, violin from my clavicle,

all of which I hammered and bulldozed

until it fit under my tongue


so cameras couldn’t point the guns

of their eyes and computers couldn’t listen

to the words of my fingers and if secrets

can’t be secretly shared, flesh

is prison. Slowly I floated more,

floated better in that region

between ground and ghosts. I could see


the feet of the dead above me,

the commencement of night below.

The trick was to know when to stop, which

part of me I had to keep to keep

from disappearing, what the difference was


between refusal and suicide, between yes

and no. I’d like to believe there’s something

we have for each other that has nothing

to do with what we can give, the small

and rare gravity that surrounds each head,

the first muscle we choose to touch


when rubbing a back. Who invented

that, how you are unlike me? I don’t need

all the details of your crotch

to feel safe. But I must remain here

to live, and if whispering is required


it is better to shout. I settled

for one inch above the pavement, for the chance

to think of myself as a small balloon

in a small parade. The way it’s going,

the only way to live on this planet


will be to leave it. How silly.

Let them take all the notes they want.

I’m here to correct the mistakes in the file

I’ll never be shown. For instance,

these are not subversive thoughts


but the taste of my marrow and the most

dangerous words are the ones we never hear.

Found In Volume 34, No. 05
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Bob Hicok
About the Author


Bob Hicok's most recent book is Sex & Love & (Copper Canyon, 2016). Hold will be published by Copper Canyon in 2018.