by David B. Prather


            â€”Microcentrum rhombifolium


                          If creation were a word game,
                          a simple matter of switching letters,
a few moves from leaf to life, the katydid could
                          resonate its eponymous song.
                          It flutters as though it were
brushed aside by breezes in a hurry to touch
                          the entire world, which came into being
                          from dust. Today, wind tumbles
from warm, all of summer flush with singing,
                          which uses melody to find its way
                          to prayer. All night long
there will be a call and response—did, didn’t,
                          did, didn’t. I don’t know
                          who to believe. Onomatopoeia
fills the darkness until even stars want to cry
                          their own names. Stars are born
                          of fusion, all those elements
milling about the universe until they coalesce.
                          How many words lie between
                          infinity and universe? When I mow
the lawn, half brown in the heat, I worry about
                          bugs that may be hiding.
                          Some have no stridulation,
no buzz, no whir of wings. They are silent
                          to their fate, which comes from
                          the Latin for speak. My voice
is not rough enough to answer, to pronounce
                          those insect syllables. The air,
                          transient among leaves, trembles
its readiness, keen to call out to creation.

David B. Prather is the author of We Were Birds (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2019), and his second collection, Bending Light with Bare Hands, will soon by published by Fernwood Press. His work has appeared in many publications, including Colorado Review, Seneca Review, Cutleaf, The Meadow, Sheila-Na-Gig, and others. He studied acting at the National Shakespeare Conservatory, and he studied writing at Warren Wilson College.