A Poem by Todd Dillard

Todd Dillard

Todd Dillard

Todd Dillard's work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous publications, including Best New Poets, Electric Literature, Split Lip Magazine, Sundog Lit, and Barrelhouse.


My fist rips back from my brother’s face,
plucks the bruise from his eye. The truck’s windshield
convexes, spits the potted plant into his arms,

and gentle he sets it down in the front of the house.
I’m eating all the words about moving away, getting
the fuck out of this place. We reverse to the bar,

hock shots into glasses as the bartender’s smile withers.
She pays us to leave, the stool-birds turn away
as we back out the door. I chuck the acceptance letter

into the mailbox unread, chin hairs worm into my jaw,
freckles and moles recede into paling skin,
wisdom teeth spider into my mouth and brighten the back of my throat.

So often my fist unfolds to inflate mosquitos,
which fly to my cheek, kiss me with unbites,
and drop by drop I shrink as they return me to myself.

Casts unwind, bones clap back into place.
I jump two stories up to my bedroom window
to get out of my father’s arms.

The cord mends, I’m filled once more with screams,
then I’m plunging back in, smaller, divided, one possibility of many,
I am my mother’s shudder, my father’s boiling.

For years they watch trees
fling lightning
into the sky.