fallen / credit: de
A Door like a Wound
The door first appeared in my backyard,
white sentinel among anemone sheets
unfurling on clotheslines. The next morning
I found it laying on the back row of the bus,
its glass knob rotating back and forth, back, forth.
Over the weeks I saw it roosted in the hair of toddlers,
stuck in the teeth of a laughing waitress, once
in a stroller where a baby was supposed to be.
Then one morning I woke up, found it embedded
in my palm. I tweezed the knob, pushed the door open.
Inside: a small room, bay windows, garrulous daylight,
a pair of boy’s shoes, a clarinet laid across a wooden chair,
and my mother’s voice, as if from a phone off its cradle,
singing some lost, some low-sweet tune…
I went to the bathroom, turned on the faucet,
held my hand under the water as if cleaning a wound.
Now when I press my ear to where the door used to be
I hear a knock-knock, knock-knock against my skin,
and sometimes, like old bones creaking, the whine of a hinge.
I cut into a pomegranate
and the seeds become a tiny fleet of boats.
I pull on a coat, and in the pockets
a seagull’s cry.
A week after your death the priest said,
“Be ready for the change.”
And I was! I swore
I was. Then
the ocean pressed
its hand against the window.
What was the first journey?
The air between two bodies.
And the first dream of distance
the night one was taken away.
Look how far the mind will reach
when it will never know touch.
Salt. Breeze. Wave. Hush.
Pillow. Lavender. Teacup. Brush.
About Todd Dillard
Todd Dillard is the recipient of the 2018 Bridwhistle Prize in Poetry. Originally from Houston, Texas, he received his MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College in New York. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Best New Poets , Electric Literature, Nimrod , Crab Creek Review , and The Boiler Journal , and has received nominations for the Best of the Net, Best Small Fictions (finalist) and Pushcart prizes. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and daughter where he works as a writer for a hospital.