Take an aphorism. Breathe the smell of cedar. Take diary, make a drawing of it. One earring off, massage the lobe. Forget where you left it, it will be as a gift. Take your heart and wring it out, make tea with the water. Hurry on to the next thing. I don’t know what to tell you. Jiggle the handle. Kilometers. Lift your arms. Motion to the back. Nothing to lose. Oppose your thumbs. Assume the position. Quarrel with necessity, reason with longevity. Season lightly. Remember the tea, made with your own heart-water? U words: uvula, underwear, underwater. As King Lear directed the Fool, unbutton here. A voracious appetite leaves no stone untuned. Wisdom sits under a rock. Xeriscape. Is it yours? What is the song of a zebra mussel?


Stare at the candle without blinking,
we were instructed,
until eyes flood with tears. 
The word exactly: flood.
I focused on the flame. My eyes husks.
Finally, I blew it out. Eyes inflamed
as if I’d been crying.


A box of tea, a spoon, a dried-out acorn.
Use the spoon to dig an acorn grave. 
Sprinkle tea over it.


He said the copper beech 
might have two more good years.
The dog is eleven.
The lifespan for an American foxhound is 10-12 years.
I will have entered
a new phase of life.

About the Author:

Alison Hicks was awarded the 2021 Birdy Prize from Meadowlark Press for Knowing Is a Branching Trail. Previous collections are You Who Took the Boat Outand Kiss, a chapbook Falling Dreams, and a novella Love: A Story of Images. Her work has appeared in Eclipse, Gargoyle, Permafrost, and Poet Lore. She was named a finalist for the 2021 Beullah Rose prize from Smartish Pace, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Green Hills Literary Lantern. She is founder of Greater Philadelphia Wordshop Studio, which offers community-based writing workshops.

Feature image by David von Diemar/Unsplash