This coming Saturday, we will celebrate the release of Having Listened by Gary Whited, winner of the 2013 Homebound Publications Poetry Prize. Look for it on Amazon and B&N as well as in Kindle, Nook, and Kobo formats. Be sure to ask your local indie bookstore if they stock the book and show your support for local business! Visit our e-store to reserve your copy. We already have books in stock! Visit our Store» In the meantime, tide yourself over with a poem from the collection.

 

 

His Religion

 

Thundered sky, tattered by lightning,

comes back whole but blackened,

clouds full with the promise of rain.

 

My father looks west from the barn

before descending the rickety wooden steps

to the corral and his one Holstein cow

 

waiting just beyond sunup for oats

by the door where she always waits

and to be relieved of the load brimming in her udder,

 

the fresh milk she’s been making all night

while these clouds gathered,

filling with what by late afternoon

 

could be hail instead of rain, his biggest worry,

what makes him light another cigarette,

wondering if his fields will be saved

 

from the hail stones’ torture,

his wheat crop gone in minutes.

His hands protect the match’s wobbly flame,

 

his deep breath sets the cigarette on fire,

its smoke rising, his ritual, his prayer.