Mourning Attire

I clamp the helmet to my suit's collar.
My breath draws a white curtain
across the helmet's glass.
My fingers wriggle into rubber gloves—
everything is impossible now
to pick up: my children's toys,
my ringing phone.
I stamp my feet into thick
boots meant to be air
tight for the moonscape
of the ocean floor.
The oxygen tank is full,
the weight of it all
something some say
will go away
if I let myself sink.
It's a sunny day on my front porch.
Tulips bob and still like fish
in a poisoned aquarium.
The mailman gives me my mail,
and I press my palms onto condolences
like prayer. Night falls
the way depths rise
to greet you. I keep trying
the line, tugging it, letting you know
it’s time to pull me up.
Why won’t you pull me up.

Suffering and Echo

After, there was marvel attached to the sadness,
like a child who rolls the perfect cigarette
or the catfish sliced open tail to gill
and in its entrails a sapphire amulet—

I knew her suffering had, finally, ended.
But the shape of her suffering remained
pressed into me. A little hollow.
The hours pooled there, blue like a blue

mountain, something to fill the empty rooms.
I took walks. Bought records. Buried birds
who struck the windows,
certain there would be more air.

There would always be more air.
And even if her suffering had become my suffering,
didn’t that mean I could sing into it
and what sound returned—didn’t it mean

she was calling me? She was
calling me. She was calling
me. She was calling me.
She was calling

Todd Dillard

Todd Dillard's work has appeared or is forthcoming in Threepenny Review, American Poetry Review, Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. His debut collection Ways We Vanish (Okay Donkey Press) was a finalist for the 2021 Balcones Poetry Award. His chapbook Ragnorak at the Father-Daughter Dance is forthcoming from Variant Literature. He's a Poetry Editor at the Boiler.

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