This cloud is the comb you found on the bus last week and were afraid to touch. Little points of light fly down from in between its scary little teeth.
This cloud is a pointy jester's shoe with bells on its upturned toes.
This cloud is the anomalous, achy blues song you heard on the radio last Saturday night in the middle of the classic jazz show. It wants to be sleek and pretty but turns inside out like a growl of cumulus trying to make it through another afternoon of atmosphere.
This cloud wants to share the sky with a bird of prey.
This cloud owes the bank a lot of money and is about to burst and fade away, spent from spending.
This cloud is a tiny key that fits a mysterious lock you haven't laid eyes on yet.
This cloud is the wake of an outboard motor boat bouncing across the choppy brown waters of a summer lake after a storm.
This cloud is a flag at half mast.
This cloud is waiting for other clouds so it can say what it needs to say to someone other than an empty sky.
This cloud tastes like the dry sand of uncooked grits hidden in the middle of butter and salt.
This cloud hums an off-key tune about traffic jams and text messages lost in the ether of its soul. It wants to catch up with the randomness of all those mis-sent dots and squiggles but doesn't know where to start looking.
This cloud is a glob of grape jelly spilled on a formica tabletop at Waffle House late at night.
This cloud is an origami crane, carefully crafted from crispest cardstock for good luck.
This cloud is a crimson ribbon unraveling at the edges.
This cloud is a knot of paneled pine shaped like a wizard's lazy eye.
This cloud tastes like a swig of cough syrup, a gulp of bitter licorice that goes down slow and unwilling and hangs around your throat and palate long after its flavor should have faded.
This cloud is a silver thimble with a minuscule dent on one side.
This cloud is a silk scarf caught in sharp winter branches. It changes color along with the light that holds it.
This cloud is a dormant hornet's nest sagging away from the delicate paper cells of its center.
This cloud is trying to tell you a secret, but if you don't learn its language, you'll never figure out what it has to say.
This cloud has a gray jersey hood pulled over its head because of a really bad haircut.
This cloud is an inkwell waiting for a pen nib.
This cloud needs a name but resists being captured by syllabaries and alphabets. It's waiting for someone to come up with another way to remember who it is.
This cloud is tired of compound words and sentences.
I know this cloud's cousin from last winter, when the setting sun played at hiding behind it during January's reluctant snowmelt.
This cloud has your name and speaks like a tree or a mountain. Its voice is deep and strange with an edge of purple in it, like a fire burning painted paper on a cold stone hearth. When it makes an appearance I catch my breath and wonder at the elegant, inimitable grace of its presence. Being around it is almost, but not quite, more than I can bear before I have to look away and do something else with my heart, my soul, my breath, and the mind I have always used for knowing things.
----© Laura Sorrells 2011
all rights reserved
I've been experiencing a sort of stasis when it comes to writing poetry the past few months, maybe longer. My energy hasn't been particularly available, I guess. This past Monday I was at a meeting of the Writing Club at the school where I teach, and the students, including three of mine, wrote poems with great enthusiasm and dispatch. I became determined to write some sort of poem too. The assignment the club sponsor had given the students felt too abstract for me so I used an old idea I once borrowed from somewhere (I can't recall exactly where) to write this.