Todd Davis


I dream my dead father
spends most
of the afternoon’s hours
stacking rock he gathers
from the dried riverbed.

Drought means
he must carry
five-gallon buckets
to water the tomatoes
and kale, the wilting
Brussels sprouts.

Stone walls ring
my parents’ acreage, lines
of demarcation
like those that tell
the age of a tree.

Winter heaves
to the ground,
and in spring
he lifts them back
to their rightful

He calls them
monuments to dearth,
to lack’s own beauty,
and what it allows
him to make.

Todd Davis teaches creative writing and environmental studies at Penn State University’s Altoona College. He is the author of four books of poems, most recently In the Kingdom of the Ditch (Michigan State University Press, 2013) and The Least of These (Michigan State University Press, 2010). He also edited Fast Break to Line Break: Poets on the Art of Basketball (Michigan State University Press, 2012) and co-edited Making Poems: Forty Poems with Commentary by the Poets (State University of New York Press, 2010). His poetry has appeared recently in The American Poetry Review, Poetry Daily, North American Review, and River Styx.