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Sudden Movements

Written by: Bob Hicok | Biography
 My father's head has become a mystery to him.
We finally have something in common.
When he moves his head his eyes 
get big as roses filled 
with the commotion of spring. 
Not long ago he was a man 
who had tomato soup for lunch 
and dusted with the earnestness 
of a gun fight. Now he's a man 
who sits at the table trying to breathe 
in tiny bites. When they told him 
his spinal column is closing, I thought 
of all the branches he's cut 
with loppers and piled and burned 
in the fall, the pinch of the blades 
on the green and vital pulp. Surgeons 
can fuse vertebrae, a welders art, 
and scrape the ring through which 
the soul-wires flow as a dentist 
would clean your teeth. 
And still it could happen, one turn 
of his head toward a hummingbird, 
wings keeping that brittle life 
afloat, working hard against the fall, 
and he might freeze in that pose 
of astonishment, a man estranged 
from the neck down, who can only share 
with his body the silence 
he's pawned on his children as love.



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