Nora Hickey


The sun is AstroGlide all

over your limbs

a syrup so terrible

sweet the world glistens

like an eye

just tongued and moles

that source from some secret

are trying to tell you

something old. Pleasure equals

rot. Fruit at the height of ripe

will soon turn sour. It’s how

we will die—

a bush of greed. Wanting

to be orange and aromatic

forever. How does one see a poppy’s

static burn and fantasize a minor

death? You imagine being

in the womb

is like saying the letter

over and over. A hum. A sort of self

suffocation. An opiate? You think

it appropriate to twin a birth

with a death: the

end, the white bright

exhaustion of cells. And all

of it orgasmic. All of life just

wanting a little lube, to lay with—


The grass is tight and shiny like a scar
after scab—what the skin remembers
is actually not a whole lot. The Earth,
who can say—mine or yours, a

god is still an alien thing. An owl
flying from dusk registers
higher on the spiritual Richter
scale. If my relationship to

cells is like a stained glass
saint at night, let me moisturize
myself to oblivion. Fall into sleep
slow, an egg dipped

in glass. The run down heater
sounds more like a blizzard
than the thing itself. Funny how
robots are in every corner

of the Earth. I wish they were
more jubilant and wet. I wish
a flood of robots from a dark
factory—metal hand

on clefted chin, an angular
cupping of flesh. How did this start
with grass? The oldest
automation, faithful and green.

Originally from Milwaukee, WI, Nora Hickey now lives in Albuquerque, NM where she teaches at the University of New Mexico. Her poetry and nonfiction has appeared in Guernica, Narrative, the Massachusetts Review, DIAGRAM, and other journals. You can hear her discuss the weird and wild history of Albuquerque on the podcast City on the Edge.