Tuesday 7 June 2022

One Poem by David B. Prather


 

Journal Entry: Storm Upon Us 

 

Almost two in the morning, the singing starts,

first a choir of rain, then an aria of thunder.

Imagination kicks up with dust, the first drops

 

disturbing the soil, the road hissing to surrender

its pent-up heat.  The birds that sing to sunlight

are hidden, silent under leaves that dance with

 

the storm.  Nights like this were my childhood

reward for oven-baked days of summer,

the sheet metal roof of the porch a drum

 

in the darkness.  I haven’t played piano in years,

my fingers too forgetful for the compositions

of Debussy, Bach, Clementi, Mendelssohn’s

 

Song without Words in F# minor, one of my

favorite keys for empty hours.  I forget which

opus this is, the one with little variation

 

in rainfall, so steady I should be lulled to sleep,

I should be flying in a dream.  But nothing

attempts flight tonight, no katydid or cicada,

 

no killdeer, no bat.  I know people in other

towns, other cities are out protesting

every brutality.  The only support I can

 

give them is sleeplessness, my hopes

they will change the world.  In the street,

puddles ripple under streetlights, shaking

 

the way stereo speakers do when filled

with music, the way my heart trembles

with treble and bass.  Thunder again, the house

 

shivers.  I feel it in my bones, prestissimo

at first, then allegro, then larghetto lingering,

the voices of people gathered in groups so large

 

they could push back the ocean.  If I listen

closely, I might be able to understand all

those words, a downpour, a torrent, a flood.






David B. Prather is the author of WE WERE BIRDS, his first poetry collection. His work has appeared in several print and online publications, including Prairie Schooner, Colorado Review, Seneca Review, Poet Lore, and many others. He studied acting at the National Shakespeare Conservatory in New York, and he studied writing at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina.



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