The Class Visit

by Bob Hicok

How many of you have seen a hawk?

One hand raised. Who’s gone

to Disney World? No hands raised.

How many of you own a dog? Four hands.

Has anyone ever made a snowman? Two hands.

Ever seen the Big Dipper?

On my grandma’s farm, one kid said,

his hand up, fingers wiggling.

Who knows someone who was shot

and killed? Every hand went up. Faster

than thought. More certain than rain.

If you know someone else

who was killed, raise your other hand.

Had you happened by just then,

you’d wonder why so many kids

were signaling touchdown, both arms

thrown high, or why that class

was pretending to be on a roller coaster,

arms tossed at the sun

as they dropped over the edge

of their fake demise,

and smile. An actual smile

or just a bit of joy

you’d carry on your face

down the hall,

to wherever you were going,

making the mood

of the next room you entered

a little better,

even if you didn’t know it.

I think the pleasure

has to do with their hands

being so little

yet wanting to hold as much

as anyone has ever wanted to hold.

Hands are good at that. Holding.

Hands are good at almost everything

we ask them to do.