The mother in this poem has given up on being dead
and decided to take up weightlifting.
The father in this poem has retired his cancer diagnosis
to become the Phoenix Force from X-men comics.
The mother horizontally stacks weighted plates
on a brand-new Olympic weightlifting bar.
In a matter of lines she goes from deadlifting
100kgs to 1,000; in fact there’s no stopping her,
pretty soon she’s juggling national monuments,
tourists are pissed she’s ruining their photo ops.
Meanwhile, the father putzes around the galaxy, sampling worlds.
He likes the cotton candy texture of gas giants,
loves sucking moons up like tapioca balls in bubble tea–
the softness of their crust followed by a denser, sweeter center
that’s ecstasy to his fiery beak. Forever happens
in an enjambment: the son in this poem masters time,
in fact he stops it right at the moment the father turns
and looks hungrily at the world,
which the mother has lifted over her head
as if it’s a volleyball she’s about to serve.
No one is dead, no one is dying, there’s no grief like this,
only remembering what hasn’t happened,
what is right now in the White Hot Room below
the poem, preening its wings.
Todd Dillard’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous publications, including Sixth Finch, The Adroit Journal, The Florida Review, Hobart, and Barrelhouse. His debut collection of poetry “Ways We Vanish” is available from Okay Donkey Press. He lives outside Philadelphia with his wife, daughter, and newborn son.