Red Sky [poem] by J.C. Todd

The day opens its case.
Spinnakers blaze

and a dawn like this
washes up on the shoal

of remembered
where he left me behind,

that boy who left himself
in jungle muck

and shrapnel, bile
at the root of tongue

and phantoms burning
below his hips.

Like a dog star, the bay
drags into its orbit

what we thought
was lost to the tide,

tosses it into the instant
of waking

when there’s no way to know
is it imagined?

 

Image of 1930s Switchboard Operator

[Refer: This poem refers to “Sudden Storm” by Nancy Priff through a water/sky connection—South China Sea and Chesapeake Bay instead of the Gulf and a different sky and source of light.]

Image by Firetrd Photography via Flickr Creative Commons

J. C. Todd’s recent work explores war’s infiltration into daily life. The author of What Space This Body, her work has appeared in the Paris Review, American Poetry Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Big Bridge, Wild River Review, Cleaver and elsewhere. A recipient of fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Leeway Foundation, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Baltic Center for Writers and Translators (Sweden), and the Artist House at Schloss Wiepersdorf  (Germany), she is on the faculty of Bryn Mawr College and the MFA Program at Rosemont. She holds an MFA from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.