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Audio and Video

Salmon Poetry

Lipstick Traces

Patrick Hicks

When I imagine how my parents met
in a Montréal bar, on a Wednesday in 1967,
I worry that it might not have happened—
that they might have turned from each other
to unconsummate me.

Nonexistence begins when
my father walks to the restroom,
his stylish lambchops blinkering his sight,
and my mother drops something on the floor,
lipstick perhaps. They never make eye contact,
and I am blinded,

But when I go back further,
beyond the dating of my grandparents,
and I salmon-swim through the current
of centuries, I see a school of unknown
relatives that had to love and lust,
without deviation, for me to exist as I do.

Beginning with two apes that rutted in a forest,
dead generations whisper in our blood vessels,
just like a chance meeting between my wife and me
will someday hide in the tissue of a great-
great-grandchild. Our delicate love echoes
with the shaking beds of history.

The closed door yell of orgasm
and birth, century after century,
brought my son umbilicalled into this world
and somewhere, somewhere unknown,
a girl has been born who will look
at our boy with honeyed eyes, or—

just as likely—
she will drop her lipstick,
and never know that
he existed.

Copyright Patrick Hicks 2008

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