Elegy for Mr. Spock

W. Todd Kaneko

The first time you died, your friends

searched the universe to bring you home


because it’s easy to abandon logic

for grief. My father died a year ago

and I’m still writing poems to bring him back


to me—the son of a man from outer space,

the alien child of an earthwoman—nothing

makes complete sense. On television


the phasers are set for stun because there’s

no such thing as death for major characters,


while on Earth, we offer our last goodbye

to the dead just once, and then we say it again


every day for the rest of our lives.

Say goodbye to moving images in mirrors,

in store windows, to the sky at night, to hope


for a glimpse of life out there in the stars.

Maybe my father is hovering outside


the window, hands held up in a weird salute

for a prosperous future because we search


the universe still for our dead, though we know

it’s illogical, though we know we are alone.


W. Todd Kaneko (@ToddKaneko) is the author of The Dead Wrestler Elegies (Curbside Splendor 2014) and co-author with Amorak Huey of Poetry: A Writers' Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury Academic 2018). His poems and prose can be seen in The Normal School, Superstition Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Diode, Monkeybicycle, and many other places. A Kundiman fellow, he is co-editor of Waxwing magazine and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he teaches at Grand Valley State University.