I recorded the woods and played this listening
back to the woods and wondered why we call it
playing catch and not playing throw.
The sound of goldenrod reminded me
that an empty shirt sleeve takes after a flute.
Sunsets must be where painters come from:
I recorded that too, orange sliding
to pink, the slow closing
of the black eye of the day. Leaving a bar
twenty eight years later, I realized
Betty Caulder was talking to me in handsprings
as a child I couldn’t hear. Drunken stars
have been the kind of friends to nod and listen.
I never get this right: stars or planets
shimmer? Is shimmer the word for seeming always
about to break into song? Shimmering rocks,
shimmering dirt, the shimmering sense
that if I stopped wondering what follows this,
I’d feel a part, not apart. All I’d have asked,
my Incan heart removed from my chest,
is that the priest hold it to my ear
so I could hear myself inhabit the quiet.
Bob Hicok (elegy owed)