Jane Hicks 


Birthday, 1956

Already hunkered down at four,
her back to the high ground,
organza dress brushes the grass.
The gaze, blue and myopic, 
stares down the camera. Her chin
rests on fists with bitten nails.

The hand-tinted enlargement 
paints the dress a mendacious blue
to match the eyes. The fluff of ruffled
trim shows a white print with
patterns of strawberries, the true
dress a red and scratchy memory.

Black patents and ruffled socks 
peek from beneath, the socks denuded
later that day with her blunt tip scissors,
the crinoline dropped behind a lilac bush.

She already knows what lies
behind the lens, the candy stripes
her legs will wear for damage done.

The wind lifts the sun-lit ponytail
at camera click and calls to her.
She listens to the power lines sing
on the hill, follows them away
to the world and work of words
where brushstrokes do not lie.


A native of upper East Tennessee, Jane Hicks is an award-winning poet and quilter. Her poetry appears widely in journals and anthologies. Her “literary quilts” illustrate the works of playwright Jo Carson and novelists Sharyn McCrumb and Silas House and were featured in Blue Ridge Country Magazine. Jane’s poetry collection is Blood and Bone Remember. A forthcoming collection, Driving with the Dead, will be published by University Press of Kentucky in 2014. 


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