Waiting for the Coming Storm

By David Prather

There will be some pain.
For me, a demon in the lower spine,
a jab and a pinch, the body’s prophecy.

My grandmother has needles in her hands,
and I’m not surprised.
Most of her life has been scissors and thread.

There will be a change in the light,
a body rushing between the sun and home.
A giant bird, perhaps, a cryptid, maybe.

I have come to the age where I feel the blur of seasons,
that indefinite sway of sadness and otherwise.
A certain weight in the atmosphere

pushes down upon my roof and makes these walls
creak and moan, an ocean of pressure
begging to be let in. But I will not let it in.

My sister’s knees, my mother’s teeth, my father’s heart—
all of us have our warnings. Even my lover complains
about the weather. My grandmother says I must learn

the song of the rain crow,
turn my back to the wind, like leaves. She says
I must never look into the eyes of the monster

that drags thunder on its wings,
for I would surely live with lightning,
a demon that dances up and down the spine.


David B. Prather received his MFA in creative writing from Warren Wilson College. His first collection, We Were Birds, is forthcoming from Main Street Rag Publishing. His poetry has appeared in many journals, including Colorado Review, Seneca Review, Prairie Schooner, The American Journal of Poetry, American Literary Review, Poet Lore and others. His work was also selected for one of Naomi Shihab Nye’s anthologies, what have you lost? Currently, David spends his time as an actor and a director at a local theater in Parkersburg, West Virginia.

Image: “Nico,” 2003, 20×16, acrylic on canvas, Brianna Keeper