from LOON

Donora Hillard


By now we will know
if you have been given
the rough weather of
your father’s body, Loon:
his knuckles scrubbed
clean to bleeding, the
prescriptions, his eyes
such sad black fabric.
One night in Florida we
sat on a bench outside a
$659 a night hotel and
I saw you moving under
his skin. Golf carts sped
past the fake waterfall.
He moaned into my hands
until I was a hologram.


I have dreams about your father when
he is sleeping next to me, Loon, even
inside me I am dreaming him. In a dream
in the years before I was so sad and you

were so far. Your father slept at the other
end of the expanse and I crawled on 
him like oil. I touched my heel to my ear

then I woke up. You can always wake up,
young lady. High above the emerald plain
your father and I will look at each other
with wet eyes and we will show you how.


If your father is gone, Loon,
gone, it is that moment in
the movies in nuclear war
when the thing hits and
then look at us moving so
slowly, the ripple before the

level. In the time in the time

before you there was a president
who could never say nuclear
and I cannot stop shaking.
See this book of scraps I have
made for you, daughter, this
tree we never married under.


Loon, it is raining pecans in Mississippi.
It is raining pecans from the tree outside
the hospital where they were supposed
to cut you out of me with their lightbulbs,
their fierce music. Your father gave us
five years before I said This, yes, her, now.
I gave us three, then two. Then eight weeks
and my heart shot from a cave, a cannon.

The place I love your father now is where
I wait to be seen by the school psychologist,
the special one for PhDs with magnets saying
You are made of stars stuck over their heads.
Who could stand being that much filament.
Darling girl, please do not grow up to be like
us. When you are old enough, you and I will
find that tree, nail to it the lace I would have

worn, this little poem, this first true thing.


Things that I forgot to say to your father:
I am a solar-powered keychain that
flashes your name for five years.
You would be a good person to go
to an all-night dentist with. This
Disney poem is fucked. I miss you.
I hope your walk was good and that
no one tried to rape you, you are so
young. The best part was when we
gave Jesus two standing ovations.
I think we are going to save one another.