Poem of the Week | October 26, 2015

This week we offer another poem from our new Out of This World issue, 38.3. Jenny Molberg’s debut collection, Marvels of the Invisible, won the 2014 Berkshire Prize and is forthcoming from Tupelo Press in 2016. Her poems have appeared in North American Review, Copper Nickel, The New Guard, Mississippi Review, The Adroit Journal, Smartish Pace, Zone 3, and other journals. She is the recipient of the 2013 Third Coast poetry prize, and was featured in Best New Poets 2014. Molberg holds an MFA from American University and a PhD from the University of North Texas. She currently teaches at the University of Central Missouri and is poetry editor for Pleiades.
Author’s note:

My grandfather, we called him Opa, was the son of German immigrants who raised longhorn cattle on his land in Fredericksburg, Texas. He died from Alzheimer’s disease a few years ago. It was difficult to watch my father confront his father’s disease, to struggle to remind him of memories that, to me, seemed like yesterday—eating peaches with vanilla ice cream, sitting on the porch of the house my great-grandparents built in 1917, watching thunderstorms roll in. I wrote this poem when I was on the east coast, far away from home, thinking of the electric intensity of a big-sky Texas thunderstorm, knowing my dad would be watching from his porch. This poem is about the faultiness of memory and the elusiveness of the self—the way we search the faces of our family to better understand our own. Even as adults, we often look to our parents for stability, especially when faced with an impossible but inevitable reconciliation with loss.


Storm Coming


Before rain, my father stands on the porch,
drawing in the metallic air. In his face,


I look for my own. I’ve seen the way he is
with his father. He counts down the lightning.


The sky swells like an oath.
Dad, he’ll say, how about next time


we’ll go and get some of those peaches you like,
out by the highway? He’ll laugh a laugh


that knows its own ending. And the drops fall,
just like he promised. The storm is birth and death


in only minutes. So we laugh, knowing
we don’t have the time to love it.