John Gallaher



I’ve read that contemplating our mortality can ease our angst
and make our lives more meaningful. On the other hand, 
watching this video of a teenager with brain cancer is upsetting. 
Maybe that’s part of it too. That my kids will get old and die
or just die at all, and that if they have kids their kids will too, 
allows me to what, forgive the universe? Go gentle? Rage? 
And maybe they’re all healthy. That what’s unhealthy is the
unexamined life. Maybe it allows me to be skeptical of the
sorts of claims that commercials, and people who think they’re
commercials, make? Go in fear of the given, for nothing is
truly given. That could be it. There seems to be an assurance
to that, no matter one’s beliefs of what might or might not
happen after the day, that day, that “golden ticket, see ya later, 
I’m out of here” day. And the people who wonder what we
were like, these people we love because we love our children, 
will make things that hover and jet and zip and whir. And they
will jet over to the houses of their friends—maybe they’ll still
even call them houses, as the word house, from Proto-Germanic
husan, has been around since around the year 1,000—and they
will have to set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not
live. There are subtle signs that things are just beginning to fall
apart, but there are always signs that things are just beginning
to fall apart. They fall apart slow, and sometimes, like how
waves work, they can even appear to be growing instead. The
new temple is going up for Apollo! You know? And thinking
about the temple falling down, the towers of children grown
old, but still such children, calling out for mothers and fathers.


JOHN GALLAHER is the author of multiple books of poetry, including Your Father on the Train of Ghosts (with G.C. Waldrep) and In a Landscape, both from BOA Editions. Other poems are recent or forthcoming in New England Review, Crazyhorse, Poetry, and elsewhere. He teaches at Northwest Missouri State University and is completing a new manuscript, Brand New Spacesuit.


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