Archive for the ‘“White Clouds”’ Category

White Clouds

By Barbara Sweeney

The good thing about clouds is that
you always know where to look.

You are eating lunch outside with your brother
and you are both little enough
to have your own small table and chairs.
Feet touch the ground.
Sun-milk slants at you from inside the glass.
You are both quietly eating sandwiches on white bread.
You look down at the hair on your arms
rising with small bumps, “It’s too cold
to eat outside.”  You look out
at the overgrown yard
that clear green color
you will see later in dreams.
You look up to the sky.
White clouds.

White clouds are made
from the stories and secrets of other
wet neighborhoods.
They never really looked like palaces,
or anything else but clouds
and the same ones who bored you
with that face on the moon,
the same ones who settled for
lesser gods in the
night sky –have herded up
and coded these clouds by
color and density,
given them names with no power
and small captions about storms.

You thought none of these things
until much later.  It’s too cold
to eat outside, and you’ve discovered
your own secret breath on the window
in the shape of a ruined cloud
walking beside a king.

Appeared in The Washout Review;
Vol. 1/No.4, Summer, 1976