<like minced clockwork> <like a flash flood warning severing a midnight program> <the news was quick and unimaginative, a single-toothed cobra> <dad has a body full of tumors> <and none of us can even see them> <inactive, like bombs beneath high grass> <that, or we aren’t looking hard enough, touching the right patches of weathered skin with our glances> <him, in the den, in the usual La Z Boy, antique smoke spying behind the picture frames on the walls, his yellowed fingers retired to tapping at the upholstery, CSI on repeat like a bad metaphor> <with the medicated bites settling, dissecting from the inside, he’s become a bear woken from hibernation; the darkness huddles closer to him> <(and once he used to tell me he was stronger than a fleet; and once he used to tell me he had all the women in his palm, in his bed)> <now I see his confidence erode into malpractice, senility> <his eyes of stone / stretch / crinkle / break / just as easily> <something about war made them heavy before mystery struck every part of him> <something about killing made him a father> <even as we grew older> <a different type of war> <when he took all four of us into his lap, when we gradually weighed more, pressed heavier with our clumsy hands> <I can’t help but feel we brought this> <pushed this into him> <as it metastasized from him to us> <a battle against the unknown, gnashing teeth and blunt daggers> <and it’s invisible and apparent>
<like ants swarming a peach pit, a writhing disembodiment> <like the canisters hefted from mom’s exhausted baking shelf (that station of comfort), at eye level, turned over and over so the contents thump, fall heavy and soft and abrupt> <like the family lore dusted over in the attic, transferred from lips, to callus, to floor, drunken with the weight of age> <like the ending where everyone doesn’t win, when the pages spin until we bleed the color of cobwebs, our mouths on rusted hinges> <and we’ll believe it to be true, what they’ve told us would happen: our bodies possibly full of disease, shelved neatly or posited in envelopes in the homes of our organs, past the broken door and hidden, like some backwards thief leaving <<boxes of dust>> full and lightweight> <purposeless> <nameless> <just another gift we fail to predict, shifting <<over, and over>> heavy, soft, abrupt>
<I look at him now, as a possible light nearing his sleeplessness, and wonder why it feels so urgent to know> <why our mom captures the doctor’s notices with a photo album, an awareness of sorts> <of mortality and memory, still here in it all> <why I should transfer my embrace for an MRI> <a healing that may or may not heal me, take me apart> <anything but this distilled time in orbit>
<but can these resolute seconds bring repose?> <I’ll come back in a month and hug him, cherish a sort of anxiety in his touch> <him, finally awoken through malignancy> <a sort of silence molds between my teeth when I stop looking, pick up my duffle bags weighed with my bedroom walls, and move into a vacancy of adulthood> <anesthetic, open
Logan Ellis is currently working on a creative writing degree, during which he hopes to finally decide if he should write poetry or fiction or a Frankenstein concoction of both, or if he should just stop complaining and drink his coffee. His work has been mostly featured online, including The April Reader, A Literation, theNewerYork, and winningwriters.com for a humor poetry contest. He currently has an internship working for a student-run literary magazine and is now juggling the urge to become an editor.