Two Poems by J.C. Todd

Planting Season

Spring, 2019

All day the fuchsia, the marigolds,
Snow White impatiens, coleus,
a couple of showy Rex begonias,
not natives but good nursery stock,
lifted from the plastic sockets
of 6-packs and 12-packs,
their roots teased from clumps,
spread in soil from last year’s pots,
probably enough nutrients
to feed them up to frost.
I’m humming to them,
tucking them into planters
with lullabies that promise
frequent water, daily care,
the tunes falling into minors
of lament, breaking off
as the morning news rises.
In my native land, on the soil
where I’m rooted, children
crossing north to colder growing zones
are warehoused, caged. No soap.
No beds. No sleep. 6 dead.


Master Plan for Pruitt Igoe

seeing as what
masters had unseen
for so long that
no one was there

the urban plan
had no where
for no ones to be
so what got built

was a nowhere
to put them in
so they would


J. C. Todd is author of five books of poetry, including Beyond Repair, runner-up in the Able Muse Press contest, forthcoming in 2021, and The Damages of Morning, a 2019 Eric Hoffer Award finalist. Winner of the Rita Dove Prize in Poetry and twice a finalist for Poetry Society of America awards, her fellowships include those from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Her work has been published in the American Poetry Review, Baltimore Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Paris Review and elsewhere. Formerly on the faculty of the Creative Writing Program at Bryn Mawr College and the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Rosemont College, she lives in Philadelphia.

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