David B. Prather received his MFA in creative writing from Wilson College. His poetry has appeared in many journals, including Colorado Review, Seneca Review, Prairie Schooner, The American Journal of Poetry, American Literary Review, Poet Lore, South Florida Poetry Journal, ucity review, Kestrel, ONTHEBUS, 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 the Actors Guild of Parkersburg in Parkersburg, WV.
Robins, I’ve been told, are harbingers of spring.
Or should I say something more positive?
Should I say bringer or messenger
or lover? No.
These birds tell lies, showing up at the end
of winter, promising early warmer weather,
drawing us all out of doors unjustly.
Unjustly. Even now,
robins flinch and flutter in wisteria twigs.
They can’t know the trickery of frost,
the foolishness of buds come too early.
So much has come too early.
How could anyone trust old wives’ tales?
Even the old wives are gone.
They used to leave by the same door they entered.
They used to listen to the gossip of the moon.
They used to bury charms in the lawn
to keep evil out of the house.
But you can’t keep evil out. Even red-breasted
robins can tell you that. Or should I say
something more positive? The sun will warm
our bones. Apple trees will bloom
days after the cold has passed.
Robins, I’ve been told, came to us
from far away, bringing with them songs
we have waited all year to sing.