ISSUE NINE
November 1999

J.C. Todd

J.C. Todd J.C. Todd's poems have appeared in Paris Review, Prairie Schooner, Puerto del Sol and other journals. Her chapbooks, Nightshade and Entering Pisces were published by Pine Press.

Snow Blind    Click to hear in real audio


Twelve snows this season, after those I lost
my count, lost sense of end and start up, ground
and air. Everywhere white blued to blur.
Was it sleet that thickened sky or snowy seed
broadcast so amply it rooted in the stone
and steel of cityscape and grew, a glaze

that layered over and reshaped the glaze
that, days before, misplaced the region, lost
it under drifts so deep they rose like stone-
capped mountains? I don’t know what’s ground.
The slur of melt and halite, slick as seed
pearls underfoot, or pear-shaped earth, a blur

of blue that slips through milky, marbled ur-
light? Were burnt-out stars let loose to glaze
with icy ash this world too harsh for seed?
All winter I’ve blundered through old fears, lost
in questions, slipping over memory’s ground,
where remorse has frozen image into stone.

All winter I’ve wakened fuzzy as though stoned
or slugged by cold, language crackled, blurred
to white noise in my skull, my dreams ground
into smithereens, a midden of glazed-
over unspokens that have buried what I’ve lost—
the infant, for instance, who failed between seed

and birth, the lover whose rage superceded
desire, the parent whose granite stone
marked the threshold of forgetting, where loss
barred love’s door. Fixed in winter, I’m blurred
to myself, til I chip through the glaciers,
blinded by its luster, listening for ground,

that thunk of earth or truth enough to ground
on. It’s a slippery business to recede
from grief and shameful silence, to deglaze
the rigid tongue and, from a frieze like stone, 
to free what I know for sure from the blur
of not allowed to know. To find what’s lost.

Can I stand my ground against forgetting’s stone
wall to recall the stories blurred as sea-glass
and, speaking of my lost, turn it to seed?

 

 

J.C. Todd: Poetry
Copyright 1999 The Cortland Review Issue NineThe Cortland Review