Todd Davis


Blue dragonflies rise
from the alder marsh
in the last hour of light,
and barn swallows skim
the field to filch the heads
of the tallest grasses,
hungering for these blue
seraphs who open
into the stomach’s
afterlife. Wings thin
as wafers carry us
into the resurrection
of dirt or limb
or wherever
plundered flight
may come to rest.
Dragonflies know
the closer to the earth
the safer the path.
Swallows cannot dive
from heaven
without crashing
into catkins and cattails,
the blessed covering
of darkness
that drapes this world—
which is not made
of ten thousand things
but ten thousand

Mud Dauber

Work with a hammer teaches us blood under the nail
forms a half-moon. A fist at the side of the head teaches us

blood on the tongue tastes like sun-warmed iron.
Blood itches as it dries from the jagged lines

the locust thorn leaves while chamber by chamber
the nest grows on the underside of an old board.

Yesterday my youngest was stung, foot swelling twice its size.
As we sit on the porch after dinner barn swallows fly in

and out of the loft: bellies the color of sky at dusk.
Only in this new dark does the buzzing finally stop.

Todd Davis teaches creative writing and environmental studies at Penn State University’s Altoona College.  He is the author of four books of poems, most recently In the Kingdom of the Ditch (Michigan State University Press, 2013) and The Least of These (Michigan State University Press, 2010).  He also edited Fast Break to Line Break: Poets on the Art of Basketball (Michigan State University Press, 2012) and co-edited Making Poems: Forty Poems with Commentary by the Poets (State University of New York Press, 2010).  His poetry has appeared widely in such places as The American Poetry Review, Poetry Daily, Gettysburg Review, Shenandoah, North American Review, and Iowa Review.