Mark Todd's Poetry -- A Sampler
(From Tamped, But Loose Enough to Breathe, a second collection of my poetry, Ghost Road Press, 2008.)
TONGUES, TEETH, KNUCKLES
Fastened sleet sashes panes
and window-worlds outside,
where horses confront worse.
All night, their manes gathered
slush, wind-dreaded to hold
ice like tongues suspended
in syllables tinkling
bitter chill. A raw-boned
gelding lifts one front hoof
to batter into snow
while his other feet clamp
legs in narrow shadow.
The herd waits, enduring
winter teeth zippered tight
to February cold.
Behind them, breezes strafe
magpies, pushed against trees,
gusts strong enough to count
striped knuckles on willow
phalanges, clench by clench.
(From the anthology, Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West, edited by W.C. Jameson and Laurie Wagner Buyer, Ghost Road Press, 2007.)
LIKE SLEEP, BUT BRITTLE
Like sleep, but brittle,
a film that crackles
from each toss to turn
and then returns
to starch and wakefulness.
And still the moon stalks
across the floor, its snarl
a predation of light
ready to sink claw shafts
into sleeping wood.
My shallow breaths
pull at the hours, each a gate
of brass and hinged shadow
that will not open
before time's andante knocks.
But a cat purrs warmth
into my back, kneads the ridges
of my spine with soft throbs,
as I drift, almost unaware,
on the margins of a thin night.
(From the anthology, Open Windows 2005, edited by Matt Davis and Sonya Unrein, Ghost Road Press, 2005.)
A CHORUSED FLIGHT OF BIRDS
Startled aloft by clatter from the ground
they wheel and climb, globbed by an unseen force
that crowds them in a warping, flexing ball.
This harmony of sight requires no sound
to guide their flock-together churning course,
to tell them when to glide and when to stall.
The multitude, connected wing to wing,
once joined, now flies apart as the group aborts
the flight, dispersing, single in their fall,
their fluttered voice no longer massed to sing
(From Wire Song , my first collection of poetry, Conundrum Press, 2001.)
I couldn’t tell you the numbered times I’ve seen
the moon’s arc, its flat medallion a traced
path across the canopy sky, its face
in two dimensions, like a spot-light beam;
or the thoughtless times I’ve assumed its scheme
of things was merely a bright plate that effaced
the stars, a celestial disk too long encased
in the time-weary lines of a lover’s theme.
But one still night, when the earth’s shadow licked
away the moon’s full milk-veneer, I stood
on the dark deck, and through a reddish trick
of light, it seemed a suspended world I could
almost touch, suddenly a solid place,
a sphere that hung in the deep room of space.
(last updated 12/2008)