POETRY November 1, 2019


A hummingbird has died in my driveway.
My neighbor, mowing his lawn, glimpsed it falling,

and now he holds the body careful as a soap bubble
in the chalice of his broad hands. The summer 

this year is sending our street hate mail: FUCK YOUs and
I HOPE YOU DIEs written in sidewalk worms and mosquito bites,

every shirt darkened by Pangaea damp, every kiss salt
lick and dog pant. And it’s ridiculous, really, how no one

has researched why every body gets smaller when held,
how a pocket-sized grief can become a particular tininess: lost

picture, forgotten phone number, memory of an old coworker
who would sing as he mopped the bookstore café, his tenor

rolling through air like rainwater down subway stairs. We hang,
my neighbor and I, suspended in June’s sewer breath,

inventing the kind of time travel where our minds age
backward, turning us into children again, asking:

What should we do? What happens next? Our dead
mothers call from porch steps—dinner’s ready, come

eat these decades while they’re still fresh! And then—
pop—we’re our old selves again, we head to our houses,

him to toss the bird into his garbage bin, then maybe do the dishes,
me to get dinner started, to stand before the open fridge

and wonder what it is I am hungry for
listening to the hum of its engine.

Todd Dillard's work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous publications, including Best New Poets, Barrelhouse, The Boiler Journal, Entropy, and Cotton Xenomorph. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and daughter, and works as a writer for a hospital.