Cries in a flurry — water? — can it chime?
Mica or garnet ringing, struck by brookspill
tumbling below the window, rain-fat, high.
Spring was all storm and, pouring down the hill —
side, is with us still in groundflow’s vagrancies.
But those faint cries seem closer, in my skull,
back of my eyes, not thoughts but reveries,
child-like. Latif on oboe, riffing, tune lost
inside a plaint diffused or stirred by leaves,
green in it, laurel sprig of Orpheus,
fern of Ophelia. What’s green will unravel
the cinch of isolation, grief or loss,
green of a promise, like a kiss or a cell
linking with cell, then spinning off, green as when
current surrenders bluest wave to shoal.
Pause. And then pulse. The silence Latif’s last tone
comes from and becomes. The everywhere cries —
whether my own or world’s, or are we one?
Silence. The arc of my hearing widens. Pines
filtering breeze, a sparrow’s chitter, raven’s crake
merge into groundbass, emerge as line,
mapping the woods’ proportions, depth and drape.
Mist, a loose gauze of stratus, wraps up mossy
trunks to reveal the woods’ secrets and signs, to make
whole what dapple scattered when, casting each
thing in relief, it tore the meshwork of green,
split it into items, billions of solo leaves.
J. C. Todd, winner of the 2016 International Literary Award’s Rita Dove Poetry Prize and a Pew Fellow in the Arts, is author of three collections of poetry, What Space This Body, Nightshade, and Entering Pisces, as well as FUBAR, a limited edition artist book created in collaboration with visual artist MaryAnn L. Miller (Lucia Press, 2016). Other awards include finalist for the Robert H. Winner Award and for the Lucille Medwick Lyric Poetry Award, both from the Poetry Society of America.
Todd is the 2016 Pew Fellow at the Ucross Foundation, a Fellow of the Ragdale Foundation, and has been a Virginia Center for Creative Arts international exchange artist at Schloss Wiepersdorf in Germany. Other residencies include those at VCCA, the Hambidge Center, and the Baltic Center for Artists and Translators in Sweden. Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, American Poetry Review, Big Bridge, and elsewhere. She is a faculty member of the Creative Writing Program at Bryn Mawr College and the MFA Program at Rosemont, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
JC Todd in this Edition
Full and Empty: The Contradiction of Translation
Instant of Turbulence
Mock Orange on Wash Day
Morning After the Bombing
Necklace of Silence
The Suitcase was Stuffed
When the Envelope Opens, Open