a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Todd Davis


dream elevator: one

In time

 

like mold in a washbasin

 

the plague

 

which we made

 

which we are

 

grew

 

(warmth and water)

 

lungs provide both

 

in ample measure

 

tents of bodies

 

collapsing

 

as in a windstorm

 
 

leg-poles bent

 

flaps of skin torn

 

death always

 

flies

 

quickly

 

a thousand crows

 

a puzzle

 

of sky

 

thin cracks of light

 
 

a map

 

that shows the way

 
 
 

to suffering.


dream elevator: two

Cities burning.

 

An ash-filled river.

 

A few humans

 

like vessels washed in milk

 

pole boats

 

through the river’s sludge,

 

careful not to touch

 

the water.

 
 

A woman who fed us

 

reduced to salt and tar.

 

My mother

 

held me to the ground,

 

body like a roof.

 

She whispered an elegy

 

to her fur

 

as it burned.

 

I saw the pink of dusk

 

on the ground

 

as she sheltered me.

 

No screens.

 

No buildings

 

No cars.

 
 

Static left the air.

 

As we once did

 

we do so again

 

scratching images

 

on the bark of trees.


Treading Water

A spell to call down rain.

A chant to stop the flood.

 

We’d been warned

about the current

where the hole

in the river swirled.

 

When arms churn

through water, we think

there’s a shore

to swim toward.

 

A thousand years from now

they’ll chip at layers of time

hidden in mud.

 

This will reveal how

our hands held the heads

of so many

beneath the waves.

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Todd Davis is a former fellow of the Black Earth Institute and the author of six collections of poetry, most recently Native Species (2019) and Winterkill (2016), both published by Michigan State University Press. His writing has won the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Bronze and Silver Awards, the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize, the Chautauqua Editors Prize, and the Bloomsburg University Book Prize. He teaches environmental studies, American literature, and creative writing at Pennsylvania State University’s Altoona College.



Other works by Todd Davis

  • Reimagine Everything Differently May 2016

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