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Todd Davis


Last of December

Cottonwood flames, cherry parallels fire—
out of the crack and hinge, quiet whistle
over the grate: a comfort to know the dead sing
even as they pass into the new year.
And the Dead Shall Be Raised Incorruptible

Everything shines from the inside out—
not like the blaze of the sun, but like
the moon, as if each of us had swallowed
a piece of it.  Our flesh opaque, milky,
indefinite—the way you see the world
when cataracts skim your vision. 
What so many mistake as imperfection—
bulge of varicose, fatty tumor’s bump—
is simply another way for the light to get out,
to illuminate the body as it rises. 
We’re caught up all the time, but none of us
should fly away yet.  It’s in the darkness
when your feet knock dew from leaves
of grass, when your hand pushes out 
against the coffin’s lid.  Just wait. 
You’ll see we had it right all along,
that the only corruption comes
in not loving this life enough.

A Memory of Heaven

Ice is talking; water dreaming.
Overhead darkness pinched by starlight.
Below, in the mud of the world, turtle sleeps:
everything fluid, formless without the light
of a lantern.  I must remember snow
is enough to see by, and ice will tell us
where we should step.  At the end
of the valley limestone swallows water,
moon turns the trees blue, and red
crossbills look for seed among hemlocks.
Beneath the fields, water is talking
in its sleep; ice quiets its dreams. 
What I write is always what comes after.

              -from The Least of These