“Between Ms. Hicks & Her Body”

Image: Purple Robe and Anemones by Henri Matisse (1937)


Between Ms. Hicks & Her Body”

a psychodrama goes on the ordinary
person couldn’t possibly grasp but
Ms. Hicks is used to it & becomes
energized on days of conflict which
is to say most days that begin with
her body having waked her four or five
times with leg cramps thirst blocked
sinus bladder panic snoring rotten
mouth the nightmare of Aunt Mary Alice
switching her legs again diarrhea
or gas or both Good morning, Traitor,
she will tell it when she gives up
on sleep for good Thank you for yet
another night of bedtime hell I
can’t wait to drag you down into
the grave with me but truth be
told Ms. Hicks mostly cares for her body
as one cares for a bullying older sister
when springtime arrives & Ms. Hicks
receives a whiff of lilacs or a soft
evening breeze prickles up some goose
bumps on her arms or when she mows
her grass & slips off her shoes to
walk on it or when she sprinkles sugar
on a heaping bowl of strawberries & eats
the whole thing or when she hears James
Brown yelp Hunh! and gets down with him
doing steps & flinging her hips around
in her kitchen or even when godless
heathen that she is she sneaks into
the late afternoon empty Episcopal
Cathedral downtown & sits by herself
in the high vaulted dimming light Oh
Lordy why then Ms. Hicks tears up so
pleasured she can hardly stand it she
knows perfectly well she doesn’t deserve
a fine & delicate instrument like this flesh
demon she’s lived in all these years this
hateful thing that in her sleep tonight
won’t hesitate to give her aching knees
or hiccups just to remind her of the idiot
heart that goes thump-thump-thump in her chest.


David Huddle’s fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in The American Scholar, Esquire, The New Yorker, Harper’s, and The Sow’s Ear.