To Love Love the Beloved

By Rachel A. Hicks

Featured Image: Pride by Ellery Pollard

When I die, no fly will buzz,
no bird will crow, no man
will cry. Or maybe when I die,
every man will cry

and say, “There goes the love
of my life—a beauty—if only
she had known.” Women
will hate me stealing

their men’s hearts even in death,
for taking over their dinner conversations
after they’ve carefully prepared
the pink-orange ham loaf.

Forks & spoons—the men will swear
to see my eyes—my teeth will show
up in all the fine china. My legs prance
through the women’s heads

as they look at the octopus waving
its arms, wrapping its tentacles
around another. Dirty salt water
will turn red with their fury

as their husbands say, “She was such a beauty.
If only she had had eight arms.” A constellation
will form in the shape of my face & planets with
my thumbprints will be discovered.

When I die, don’t send me roses
because I am now the dirt, I am the plant,
I am the seed that sits in the crook of your skull, always
reminding you what it’s like to call a place home.


Rachel A. Hicks was a teacher and writer from Charleston, West Virginia. She earned her MFA in poetry from West Virginia Wesleyan. Her first collection, Appalachian Ghost Floating Down Your Hall was published posthumously in June 2021. Her work has been published in Feminine Rising, The Pikeville Review and Still: The Journal.

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