by Tucker Lieberman.
(art pictured by 婕 Venus Cohen)
In the poem “Hollow Point,” Kris Hiles gently interrogates a transition through the sensory qualities of the moment. Though we are spared the details of whatever trauma has called for someone to “rearrange my skeleton,” the words nevertheless carry a raw emotional quality.
We seem caught in a freeze-frame. “A splash in the tub” captures a brief occurrence, while “the flattening of a bullet, / just a little bit” suggests how a bullet may be deformed slightly by what it hits, likewise suggesting the instant of impact. Yet time does not move on. There is “the great slowing” and the observation that “the sapling is / the tallest tree,” perhaps meaning that there has not been, or will never be, enough time for the young trees to grow up.
Life vanishes. We have “smoke,” “evaporation,” and “enough thirst to / drink the whole river”. We are left with “echoes”.
With quiet mood and direct words, "Hollow Point" is a good example of how a poem can draw a reader into the poet's world to explore a sensitive and potentially scary subject.
Insofar as this may be a meditation upon death, it could represent the closing, rather than the opening, of possibilities. But you may find something different in it. Each of us is, after all, “waiting for a tarot reading.”