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.
Further Suggestions for Scrutinizing the Plan
pppppBefore you learn how to fly, learn how to fall.
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.
Before you can forgive, you’ll need a well of patience. Teach in a public school.
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.
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.
Try rejecting outright the idea of fate. Probably, you’ll recognize the impossibility of
pppppsharing your consciousness. Life will ebb.
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.
New air will fill the tissue between bones, and, with your dry body on land, you’ll feel the
pppppweightless joy of loss.
This, I think, is a form of flying.
Dearth & Distance
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.