Twenty-four Logics in Memory of Lee Hickman

The bend in the river followed us for days

and above us the sun

doubled and redoubled its claims


Now we are in a house

with forty-four walls

and nothing but doors


Outside the trees, chokecherries, mulberries and oaks

are cracking like limbs

We can do nothing but listen


or so someone claims,

the Ice Man perhaps, all enclosed in ice

though the light has been shortening our days


and coloring nights the yellow of hay,

scarlet of trillium, blue of block ice

Words appear, the texture of ice,


with messages etched on their shells:

Minna 1892, Big Max and Little Sarah,

This hour ago


everyone watched as the statues fell

Enough of such phrases and we’ll have a book

Enough of such books


and we’ll have mountains of ice

enough to balance our days with nights

enough at last to close our eyes


Michael Palmer, "Twenty-four Logics in Memory of Lee Hickman" from At Passages. Copyright © 1995 by Michael Palmer.  Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.
Source: At Passages (New Directions, 1995)
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