I hope the deepest wrinkle of your brain holds these simple acts:
I peeled the skin off the kiwis,
I tucked the sheets beneath your legs,
I heaved myself up off the floor
and galloped again around the room,
though too soon I stumbled,
I fell down.
– from “Old Man”
We all consider death more than we’d like to admit, and that’s okay. People die. We know this truth to be self-evident. We do not live forever, but the life that we lead does. We are the memories and photographs and shadows of those who came before us. We are the hopes and dreams of those who would not live to see us get there – because death, and not for any other reason; however, those times where new life beckons as old life waves goodbye can bring light enough to brighten the sky to an otherwise desolate moment.
Todd Dillard’s debut collection, Ways We Vanish (Okay Donkey Press), offers us lifetimes of love and honor and heartbreak and happiness. This is a collection that proves childhood, fatherhood, and the end of life can in fact be a continuation. Though sometimes the memories that shape that continuation would much rather be forgotten.
Dillard makes sense. It’s not that it is ever easy to come to grips with our past. We have all suffered, all wronged, all done something we hope will not pass to the next generation, but rather teach that generation how to be better, more themselves, more whatever they need. When we glance at new life through the eyes of those who came before, we know we will be okay, and begin to see our way out of desolation.