Todd Dillard
A Catalog of How Are You Doings

There’s the ones you get from cashiers,

acquaintance coworkers, the husbands

of your wife’s childhood friends—

they say it like tearing the last yellow page

from a pack of construction paper,

not your first choice, the ink runs,

you know whatever you do with it

it’s bound for forgetting’s garbage bin.

Then there are the ones with ‘man’

tacked onto the end, the old friends

reaching through telephone wires

to garland your shoulders with cigarette

breaths, and something about them

feels like ship horns sounded in the harbor,

the brightest pennies in a wishing fountain,

how your hands first landed on the small of a girl’s back.

There’s the ones at aunt and uncle funerals

plopped like spoonfuls of mac and cheese

on a paper plate, ones like a flock of geese

taking flight after you bump into your ex.

Your mother dies and people place

their black origami in your palm.

Your father dies and people drape them

like coats across your back. Once or twice

you find one whispered like an envelope

slipped under your door, except this one falls

from your bathroom mirror. You’re naked, soaking.

Haven’t you been practicing for this

your whole life? Say fine. Say great.

You have nowhere else to be.

Say how about you?

Found In Volume 52, No. 06
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  • Todd Dillard
Todd Dillard
About the Author

Todd Dillard’s debut collection Ways We Vanish was published in 2020 by Okay Donkey Press. His work has also appeared in Best New Poets, McSweeney’s Internet Tendencies, Electric Literature, Nimrod, Superstition Review, and Split Lip Magazine, among others.