A dull headache for two days is one of my signs
for an oncoming storm,
a downpour. My grandmother is a weather witch,
which may be why I feel
changes in the sky. I’m no meteorologist, no
climatologist. I don’t study
isobars or oscillation indices. I couldn’t even
explain what they are.
The women in my family have an emotional link
to clouds and lightning.
In some drought-ridden areas, towns suffered
the scams of rainmakers
who said they could coax water from the firmament
with fervent prayers.
They knew how to appeal to God. Which is nothing
like that Kate Bush video
for her song, Cloudbusting, where Donald Sutherland
invents a machine
to wring rain from ungiving clouds. This is not
the same as seeding them
with chemicals to make the water heavy, to make
its only desire a yearning
to fall. As though rain could feel anything, like me,
caught in a torrent,
standing in a storefront alcove, my clothes clinging
to my body, the intimacy
of a sudden storm. I’ve seen people dance for rain,
pound the earth
with rhythmic steps, cleanse the ground of evil
spirits who would rather
parch and burn. And now I really want to listen to
that song, Cloudbusting,
to see if it could release the pressure, to thunder down
the rainfall. If only
I had that kind of power, to be able to reach that high,
pull down those blessings.
David B. Prather is the author of We Were Birds. His poetry and reviews have appeared in many print and online journals, including Prairie Schooner, Colorado Review, Potomac Review, Seneca Review, Sheila-Na-Gig, etc. He studied acting at the National Shakespeare Conservatory, and he studied writing at Warren Wilson College.