4:3: “God Explains Her Wayward Child”, by Lon Prater

4:3: “God Explains Her Wayward Child”, by Lon Prater

when Death was only death–

just a still and pregnant pool

(so much warmer than you’d think)

I dipped my fingers, flicked

them; watched the giggling

waves roll out before


one foot smack!

down into it, shattering


its heft

thin and wide

making Ruin a new thing

and majestic

the way any broken up

thing is somehow Bigger

and more Grand

easier to carry

lighter to bear

when you stop to let

strangers breathe in the

cinders rubbed deep in your

cheeks or offer up crimson

shards of heart by the handful

to your friends–

I did that, it was me, my


writ larger than your


And when the spatters dry

You’ll forgive, even me

as Death congeals

around itself and you and I

find smaller hands to wave

goodbye more comfortable

things to talk about than

wayward children grown too

fast and on their own already

(so much sooner than you’d think)

Lon Prater lives and writes on the Florida Panhandle, which he sometimes refers to as the Genre Gulag. His fiction has appeared in Writers of the Future XXI, Borderlands 5 and many other venues. You can find out more about him at http://www.neverary.com/notes.htm.

This poem was inspired, at least in part, by a bit of poorly capitalized roadside scripture, lots of standing water left over from one of the many hurricanes last year and a recent encounter with a soccer mom.

Like many of my poems, the association “clicked” while I was driving, and I had to pull over and scribble this one out before I could go any further.

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