by Christopher Todd Anderson

I hate the sky: that crisp blue sheet
never wrinkles, hides nothing.
Even gray clouds can reach a dark
finger down and open one’s house
to the raw unfiltered wind.

Earth is no better: soil churns
up artifacts, spits stones into light
with the frost heave.  There are
quakes and chasms, and everything
shines lava bright.  Or a flood comes,
coffins float like rowboats, hinges
rust, doors splinter, and dirt
washes from the eyes of the dead.

The ocean harbors too many arms
and eyes, endless forms: living
stones, wriggling anemones, murky
luminescence.  One substance
dissolves into another: porous bodies,
salt into seawater, spirit into blood.
Nothing can be its own lone thing.

There is life in the steam vents, life
under ice, life maybe circling
a far-flung star.  Even the body
is no refuge.  Nations of microbes
build shantytowns in my veins; I feel
their footfalls, hear their radios hum.


Christopher Todd Anderson is Associate Professor of English
at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, where he
teaches courses in American literature, creative writing, and
popular culture.  His poetry has appeared in journals such as
Tar River Poetry, River Styx, Prairie Schooner, Tipton
Poetry Journal
, Ellipsis, Crab Orchard Review, and Chicago
Quarterly Review
, among others.  One of Anderson’s poems
also appeared in
Pushcart Prize XLII: Best of the Small
in 2018.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 14, Number 1
(Spring 2019)

Copyright © 2019
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.