The Ask




After I’d begged successfully for the job,

they made me a professional.

Easier to beg for an organization than for oneself,

but a decent mission statement is hard to come by.

All answers must be divisible by money.

I tend to mix up digits,

so they put me in charge of the words.



What do you beg for, when no one is looking?

Why is it hard to ask for what you want?



The dog places his paw on my thigh.

Flexes the webs between his claws,

not enough to hurt, just to keep a grip, and to make sure I notice,

looks sideways at the floor.

I am eating chicken.

He knows my heart as only a supplicant can.

Alison Hicks is the author of poetry collections You Who Took the Boat Out and Kiss, a chapbook Falling Dreams, and a novella Love: A Story of Images. Her work has appeared in Eclipse, Gargoyle, Permafrost, and Poet Lore, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Green Hills Literary Lantern. Awards include the 2011 Philadelphia City Paper Poetry Prize and two Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowships. She is founder of Greater Philadelphia Wordshop Studio, which offers community-based writing workshops.