The longest moment lingers
beneath the apple trees in my back lawn
where honey bees get sozzled on blossoms
and stagger as they fly from shadow to light,
from shadow to light, from ecstasy
to euphoria, and back again,
where sunlight dapples and dances
with an unexpected breeze, breaks
over every branch and shatters
in glory upon the ground,
where even gods and goddesses
would come to play
if anyone still allowed them the quiet
comfort of being, allowed them
an unrepentant passion
that everyone could believe, and join in,
and find in their own humdrum lives
and toss-away days, and the longer I wait
here with my lover
like ancient sweethearts
from thousands of years ago,
the longer I can believe
we might be a part of forever,
coming and going and coming and going,
a cluster of stars swirling down upon us
as softly as apple blossom petals
landing upon our unclothed bodies,
in our unkempt hair,
waiting centuries for someone
to tell our story
with one long and lingering breath.

The Nubbins

I pull pips off of my apple trees.
I remove those tough, useless expectations
that sucker the one true apple on the branch.
Yes, I know pips is not the right word,
but it’s the one that seems to fit
for the way I bend stems until they snap and fall,
the way they hide in the grasses below.
I cast off this undeveloped fruit
in hopes that what I leave will be better,
larger, sweeter, more ripe under the sway of the sun.
So much waste, so much potential is thrown to shadow
and shrift, which is a kind of confession.
Perhaps this is what I do as I push into the branches,
shriving to robins that complain at my presence,
shrill at my movement through the leaves.
Who can claim these trees?  Who can claim
the bounty promised here?  Rain crows mourn
in spiritual tones.  I cannot reach the highest clutches
where bloom is rewarded with flesh and seed.
Last night’s rain still beads upon this morning’s stillness.
Heavy rainfall is expected again tonight.
Clouds already gather in a coven overhead,
and I know I’ve changed the meaning of another word.
We will all wish for rain during the dry days of August,
the irresistible knowledge it always brings.


David B. Prather received his MFA in creative writing from Warren Wilson College.  His poetry has appeared in many journals, including Colorado Review, Seneca Review, Prairie Schooner, The American Journal of Poetry and others.  His work was also selected for Naomi Shihab Nye’s anthology, “what have you lost?”  Currently, David spends his time as an actor and a director at the Actors Guild of Parkersburg in Parkersburg, WV.