Sudden Movements

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.

by Bob Hicok

Comments (8)

nice writings- Now he's a man who sits at the table trying to breathe in tiny bites. ....... Surgeons can fuse vertebrae, a welders art, and scrape the ring through which the soul-wires flow as a dentist would clean your teeth. //// Great art of self inner-side
Beautifully penned. A sad situation dealt with love and tenderness. I think father would be most happy looking at hummingbird and freezing.......
one turn of his head toward a hummingbird, wings keeping that brittle life afloat, ... pawned on his children as love. lovely poem, parent, hard work, life, children, family. now sitting and watching in silence......... but with a great fulfillment that his life is spent well......... lovely poem dear poet. tony
When you know there is naught we can do to help alleviate the disease, the greatest thing to do is to love and give of our time. A sad story penned with brilliance. Thanks for sharing. Bob10.
For me the first two lines make me smile, and I relate. Who of us is not, at times, a mystery to ourselves? Then follows the vivid description of his father’s condition. And, as I read it, there is compassion overall in this portrait which avoids being simplistic or sentimental—which I can relate to. For who of us has not had mixed feelings about a parent? -GK
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