Turning the Compost at 50

The ants have returned and even the simplicity of lust fails me.
Watermelon, muskmelon, the slippery foam of cantaloupe. The wind
keeps blowing out of the south where rain gathers to plan its trip north.
In June, along the forest road where I pick raspberries, I find used condoms,
red, blue, flesh-colored, trying futilely to love the earth. Urine
restores nitrogen to dirt. What does the spent jism of teenagers replace?
Last November, high on the ridge, I spread my father’s ashes in a wild
blueberry field for the bonemeal upon which my grief might grow plump
and ripe. When I dump melon rinds on the compost, hundreds of ants
scatter, then scramble back onto the pile, their mandibles clacking
in a raucous song of appetite.

Todd Davis is the author of four books of poems, including In the Kingdom of the Ditch and The Least of These. He teaches at Penn State University’s Altoona College.