Posts by Todd Smith

Born and raised in rural west-central Illinois, Todd Smith studied poetry, music, and math at the University of Virginia, and received his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Recent poems appear or are forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, River Styx, North American Review, Barrow Street, Palette Poetry, Meridian, Barren Magazine, Crab Orchard Review, Quarterly West, and elsewhere. He received Frontier Poetry’s 2017 Award for New Poets, and was a semi-finalist in the 2018 92Y Discovery Poetry Contest. A valuation actuary by profession, he lives in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Nocturne with Canals

Late at night from four hundred miles up (as seen in this NASA light pollution map), our native state becomes …

In This Kingdom

1.  Overtures If things (as they are) are the skins our selves will shed, say them as we are.   …

Eulogy, Scottsbluff

My stepbrother: who might not be in heaven. Whose body didn’t know which way to swim   from that wreck, …

In the Year of the Metal Pig

It was a crapshoot, that year. Blown apart by its glorious squalors: open marriages you’d wanted as badly as your …

The Past

The train won’t stop here anymore. The station (or so you say) was stripped of its accessible copper wire by …

Apologia, America

Listen: it’s raining ash. The one holding his nose tight in blueish kleenex is your dead neighbor’s only certified son, …

Purgatorio, East Peoria

Again, the man in the window wakes from a dream of June bugs: fragile with heat, they’d thrown their bodies …

All Ye Faithful

The rented A-frame off Casco Bay has one-and-a-half baths and a mute handyman she hired in May. It’s December: his …

How Can I Help You?

Silver Ford Fusion,                             idling at the drive-up …

About the Weather

Word was she’d hitched west from the tip of Kentucky to get   away from a man and twenty acres …

Visitation, Lake Cadillac

Your sister wouldn’t even shake its hand. Behind the felled sycamore, your mother shook sand from a plaid scarf. Tintype …

Eight

Kissed by the president in the airport lot outside Saginaw, her forehead drew crowds all evening. They came to her …

Seven Cases of Inertia

1. Sinking another hour in a frayed net the sun makes of the particulate sky. 2. Ditch lilies pivoting before …

Magda the Mule-Faced Girl

The Hubcap House: red tinsel grass, a wall of flyers reading “See the world’s first house made up of hubcaps, …

Transformer

A girl rocks back in the worn vinyl cushion of the city bus   and passes a small airliner from …

Dinwiddie County Fair

Everything starts ten minutes after dark. The ticket line already spans from where the gates are opening to this gravel …

Autumnal, Kansas

  The sun peaks lower each day, arcing back           behind the trailer park and into …

Thanksgiving, 1986

  Cousins in this prison town bloated with step relatives and time, you and I grew cynical and fifteen. Grandmother, …