Instant of Turbulence
At the roots of short strands where pores exude oil,
wet hair blackens like a wick.
Under the golden chamois shirt where torso muscles surge,
sweat passes through the membrane of the skin
deepening the fabric’s hue to amber.
Hamstrings contract, release, contract.
At the Achilles tendon, a rag wool sock absorbs the sweat.
The rough stair he climbs has been cleft into rock
beside a wide river lunging into air
above the downslide of its ancient boulder bed.
To this sudden, fabulous fall, he has come to see
the instant of turbulence, the mist
spooling up, purling into atmosphere.
From moons of dampness under his arms
a faint vapor flows like a current light reveals.
His body is evaporating,
the body of my husband,
whose love works on me like lichen,
dissolving the rock.
J. C. Todd’s poems and translations have appeared in the anthology Shade 2004, and in
American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, Prairie Schooner, Crab Orchard
Review and other journals. Pine Press published two chapbooks: Nightshade (1995) and
Entering Pisces (1985).
Awards include a fellowship in poetry from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, two awards for poetry from
the Leeway Foundation, a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts international artist exchange fellowship to
the Schloss Wiepersdorf colony in Germany, a scholarship to The Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators
in Sweden, and a stipend from the Latvian Cultural Capital Foundation. Her poems have received five Pushcart
She is an associate editor for the poetry web magazine, The Drunken Boat
(www.thedrunkenboat.com), where she
has edited special features on contemporary Lithuanian and Latvian poetry in translation, and she was guest
poetry editor for the Summer, 2005 issue of The Bucks County Review, and co-editor of “Recurrence
in Another Tongue: Poets Translating Poets” that appeared in Frigate 4 in 2003.
A lecturer in Creative Writing and in the Writing for College program at Bryn Mawr College, she has an MFA
from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.
J. C. TODD IN THIS EDITION:
POETRY: Instant of Turbulence
POETRY: Men Kissing
POETRY: Necklace of Silence