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I robbed a bank. Didn't mean to.
I'd deposited a check when the woman asked,
Is there anything else? She had a great smile.
It reminded me of a waxing moon.
I didn't want her to be a moon in vain,
so I said, I'll take all the money in your drawer.
She said, Of course. Then she said a funny thing.
Her head was down, she was looking at a stack of bills
in her hand, when she said, How would you like that?
Meaning tens or twenties. Hundreds or quarters.
And as soon as she said this, she stopped,
dropped her hands, smiled, looked at me,
shook her head and said, Duh. And something
opened between us. A sense of life
as renewable and surprising,
full of little errors that make us notice
we need and can give help. There's only one way
to want everything, she knew that
and was admitting her mistake. So I pointed out to her
that I didn't have a gun. She pointed out to me
that money is a knife we plunge into each other
over and over for no good reason.
If I'd have had a cord of wood
or even a few logs, I'd have built a fire
right there and talked to her
well into the night, but there was no tree
in sight. At the end, having handed me the money,
once more she asked, Is there anything else?
Yes, I said. I'd like to deposit this.
Checking or savings, she asked.
Given how far we'd come together, I admitted
I've never known how to answer that question,
if it's better to live for the moment
or look forward to a better time.
That's why I'm here, she said,
taking out a pencil and paper and dividing
the paper into two columns, one labeled
The Sky Is Falling, the other, So Am I.

Bob Hicok


Spring 2017

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