Alison Hicks

Heart, Lungs, Bladder

Figura by Ismael Nery

The body is a container that leaks.
Skeleton a cage
from which to build shelter.
Where is the line between inner and outer?

Kidney, liver, gall bladder
in Chinese medicine
are organs of purification.
Sorting wanted from unwanted,
what to keep and what to let
pass through.

Water we hold in our hands
drips down our fingers.
We hold thoughts for as long as we can
before they pass out of us.

We contain feelings
when they have power.

Contain to protect.

We have devised many structures:
jails, prisons, hospitals,
barriers, ropes, lines of armored police
with helmets, clubs, tear gas, and guns.

Schools and gated communities.

Containment is not the same as holding.
What we hold passes through us,
on to others, gift or curse.

Perfume escapes the bottle
slowly through threads.

Neurons fire across a gap.


About the writer:
Alison Hicks is the author of poetry collections You Who Took the Boat Out and Kiss, a chapbook Falling Dreams, and a novella, Love: A Story of Images. Her work has appeared in Eclipse, Fifth Wednesday, Gargoyle, Permafrost, Passager, and GHLL, which nominated her work for a Pushcart Prize.

Image: Figura by Ismael Nery (1900-1934). Oil on canvas. 41.3 x 27.2 inches. 1927. Public domain.