Today's poem is by Bob Hicok

Words, what is the word, matter

"You broke my kneecaps" makes more sense
than "You broke my heart." The jilted
would recognize each other at the bus stop
on crutches and gather their sniffling woe
like a herd of tripods off to the side
and smoke a communal smoke while writing
country songs in their thoughts
that begin with lines such as "Love
is like shin splints." My calling here's
to save the heart from poets
who've troped it to death. Personally
my heart is like the thing I least
want to give away or have stepped on, OK
it's my second least popular organ
to consider being stomped, number one,
according to the accordion of my brain
is my brain. The last time
someone told me he was a sucker
for romance, I licked his face and he
was very much not happy about it.
I was expecting a hint of strawberry
but people taste so much like regret
that cannibalism, notwithstanding
what seems to be the chicken flavor
of all flesh, would be the saddest diet
on the planet. "Honey, who's for dinner"
aren't words I want to say
anymore than "My heart beats only for you."
"My heart beats only for a while"
is a sadder poem anyway so why make this
an anatomy class with cadavers
who were probably inmates to gauge
by the tattoos as I recall them
from college, when I was in love with a woman
who turned to me with a heart in her hand
and said, and I'll never forget this,
"Yuck." Yet I found it beautiful
in how refused and shriveled and stupid
it looked out of context
and wanted to but couldn't
put it back to work and there
it was, failure to be of use
on a scale that to this day makes hope
seem a limping, broken word I love.

Copyright © 2012 Bob Hicok All rights reserved
from the Southern Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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