2 Poems by J.C. Todd


After the Death
After the death
she listened
to the widower
to the children wild
or silent from grief
to the whine of the pup
that brushed her leg
because the leg he’d brushed
had disappeared
after this death
which came after others
which left behind grievers
whose sorrows she had consoled
it was the cat weighing in
at 3.7 pounds,
the cat whose eye pads
had lost their fatty tissue
whose hind legs, thinned
and thinning, could not
navigate the stairs
it was the cat she stroked
to feel her sorrow welling up
Slow Reading,
                          like diving deep
into a dumpster—it’s got a shape—
oblong, and a square footage
but its contents are unknown.
Slow reading, like rummaging
with a system, following the words
that soon aren’t words but
music or flash films or
textures your body takes in,
the consciousness of someone else
you’ve absorbed. You could
consider saying like sex
but that’s only a thought, an
expectation you feel obliged
to fulfill. Slow reading’s
like breathing, autonomic,
and thinking this
you feel grateful that the muscles
and the bellows keep going on
below awareness, as reading
draws you down, below
what you know or see.
JC Todd headshot (1)


J.C. Todd is author of The Damages of Morning (Moonstone Press, 2018), a 2019 Eric Hoffer Award finalist. Other books include What Space This Body (Wind, 2008), two chapbooks and collaborative artist books On Foot/By Hand and FUBAR (Lucia Press, 2018, 2016). Winner of the Rita Dove Poetry Prize, she holds fellowships from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Leeway Foundation, Ragdale, Ucross, and Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. Currently a poet with the Dodge Poetry Program, she has taught at Bryn Mawr College and in the MFA Program at Rosemont and holds an MFA from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson.



    1. Valerie Fox, thank you appreciating the poems and for reblogging them. I hope they do boost another writer out of a block.


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