Andrew P. Dillon

Andrew P. Dillon graduated as a member of the University of Tennessee’s inaugural MFA class. His work is forthcoming or has appeared most recently in The Human, Review Americana, Potomac Review and Connotation Press. He taught for a few years, but now works as a technical writer in Nashville while he completes his first collection, currently titled Captain for Dark Mornings (after his favorite Laura Nyro album). He strongly supports the use of semi-colons, em dashes, and the serial comma.

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Further Suggestions for Scrutinizing the Plan

pppppBefore you learn how to fly, learn how to fall.

ppppp-Paul Simon

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If you’re learning how to fall, people will think you’re in love.

pppppBefore you try to love, learn how to forgive. You may also consider practicing in

pppppthe mirror how to unclench your jaw. It makes you look stubborn.

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Before you can forgive, you’ll need a well of patience. Teach in a public school.

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But patience requires humility. Consider everything you believe may be wrong. This is

pppppeasier if you’re already in love. The key is to trust everyone. The frequency with

pppppwhich you’re lied to will also give you opportunities to forgive.

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Just don’t conflate forgiveness with second chances; otherwise, you’ll end up too cynical

pppppto love. If you insist on believing in second chances, you’ll need a loose

pppppinterpretation of how god addresses desire.

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Try rejecting outright the idea of fate. Probably, you’ll recognize the impossibility of

pppppsharing your consciousness. Life will ebb.

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You’ll be dragged below the tide, and the crush of waves above will fold brain into belly.

pppppIf you relax against the rush—if you can hold your breath—the waves will crash.

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New air will fill the tissue between bones, and, with your dry body on land, you’ll feel the

pppppweightless joy of loss.

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This, I think, is a form of flying.

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Dearth & Distance

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It’s not much, all I want:  Islay Scotch,

Swiss chard grilled in olive oil, Laura Nyro

on vinyl, a poem by Dorianne Laux, hazy evening

light dripping through the blinds

and a dim floor lamp at the other end of the room—

high-rise in Gangnam, Seoul, making love

facing the window, mountains in the distance

remind us where we began.  You are a lawyer,

I imagine.  It doesn’t matter

what I do.  Maybe I just cook your meals,

make the bed, take walks with you

along the Han Gang each evening.  Maybe my degrees

justify this laziness.  Maybe I ruin

an expensive blouse in the laundry.  Maybe I never

learn to make sticky rice for kimbap.  Maybe The Paris Review

never publishes me.  Maybe I’m so happy,

I never get the mechanics right, confident

I’ve mastered the conscious, the ethereal, the sacrificial—

and that you feel the same, each evening

when my body asks a warm question around yours.

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