something i wish i’d written; by bob hicok

Other Lives And Dimensions And Finally A Love Poem

My left hand will live longer than my right. The rivers
 of my palms tell me so.
Never argue with rivers. Never expect your lives to finish
 at the same time. I think
praying, I think clapping is how hands mourn. I think staying up and waiting
for paintings to sigh is science. In another dimension this 
is exactly what’s happening,
it’s what they write grants about: the chromodynamics of mournful Whistlers,
the audible sorrow and beta decay of Old Battersea Bridge. 
I like the idea
of different

 theres and elsewheres, an Idaho known for bluegrass,
a Bronx where people talk 
like violets smell. Perhaps I am somewhere patient,
somehow 
kind, perhaps in the nook 

of a cousin universe I’ve never defiled
or betrayed 
anyone. Here I have 
two hands and they are vanishing,
the hollow of your back 
to rest my cheek against, your voice and little else but my assiduous fear to cherish. 
My hands are webbed 
like the wind-torn work of a spider, like they squeezed something in the womb 

but couldn’t hang on. One of those other worlds 
or a life I felt
 passing through mine, or the ocean inside my mother’s belly 
she had to scream out.

 Here, when I say I never want to be without you,
 somewhere else I am saying 
I never want to be without you again. And when I touch you 
in each of the places we meet, 

in all of the lives we are, it’s with hands that are dying 
and resurrected.
 When I don’t touch you it’s a mistake in any life, 
in each place and forever.

Bob Hicok

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