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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, September 7, 2017.
About this Poem 

“I recently saw a searchlight cutting through rain. It illuminated and froze every drop.  That seemed like an interesting way to think about how the power of the state cuts through the ordinary weather of our daily experience—brightening, dazzling, focusing our attention, bearing down on some of us.”
—Kevin Prufer

Rain

Always, before rain, the windows grew thick with fog.

Mist descended over the evening rooftops

and rain made generalities of the neighborhood.

Rain made red leaves stick to car windows. 

Rain made the houses vague. A car

slid through rain past rows of houses.

The moon swiveled on a wet gear above it.

The moon—a searchlight suspended from one of the airships—

lit the vague face peering through the windshield,

the car sliding down the rain-filled darkness

toward the highway. The men controlling the airships

were searching for him,

and he passed through the rain

as a thought passes through the collective mind

of the state. Here I am in this rain-filled poem, 

looking out my kitchen window into the street,

having read the news of the day—

we are hunting them in our neighborhoods,

they have no place among us—

and now the car has turned the corner and disappeared

into the searchlights that make from the rain

glittering cylinders of power.
 

Copyright © 2017 by Kevin Prufer. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 7, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2017 by Kevin Prufer. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 7, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Kevin Prufer

Kevin Prufer

Kevin Prufer is the author of six books of poetry, most recently Churches (Four Way Books, 2014), In a Beautiful Country (Four Way Books, 2011), and National Anthem (Four Way Books, 2008). He teaches at the University of Houston and lives in Houston, Texas.

by this poet

poem
The old cat was dying in the bushes.
Its breaths came slow, slow, 
                                          and still
it looked out over the sweetness of the back lawn,
the swaying of tall grass in the hot wind,
the way sunlight warmed the garbage can's 
sparkling lid.  
                   It closed its hot
poem

The little red jewel in the bottom of your wineglass
is so lovely I cannot rinse it out,

so I go into the cool and grassy air to smoke. 
Which is your warmly lit house

past which no soldiers march to take the country back?
When you reached across the table to touch my hand

is not

2
poem
They wanted him to stop kicking like that—
it made their eyes corkscrew, drilled the sun in the sky
so light dumped out like blood from a leak.
The boy in the trunk wouldn't die.

They drove and drove, and he dented the trunk's tight lid,
called their names, then pounded the wheel wells
with a tire iron. The sun