Cloud Poem

By Anonymous

Art by Sophie Williams




the way the cloud looked in the sky

floating like a gentle hand with fingers extending

to rub the back of my neck

the way your eyes met mine

a perfectly matched exhale

it reminded me of the crows that flew by my window,

a spiraling staircase of wings meeting the ground —

softly,

like a gentle kiss

or quietly

like the hum of pretty street lights I listen to before I sleep.

trivial as though they are,

I hope they know I think they are wonderful

and that they can trust that the glow in my eyes

will not fade when the day comes

and will still be there to greet them

the moment the sun taps my shoulder

birds land so elegantly

gently

a crow in the field reminds me of the cloud I saw that day,

the one that resembled a gentle hand

the fingers I’m envisioning are the only ones I’ve held long enough

to know what floating feels like

and it’s awfully strange

how floating and sinking

have the same type of wings

I wonder if birds know the distinction,

or if they want to be taken by the wind

as I do by your touch

as I do by the soft ridges of your warm hand

the man I saw stroking my neck,

he had fingers that resembled serrated feathers —

a pair of lips that taught me to acclimate to poison,

eyes that told me my wings were beautiful

when they looked the most free

the cloud was so far away

but the distance made me feel closer to you,

like the wind was wrapped around us both —

tightly as your set of arms

the night you showed me the way love bled

it went like this

like the legs wrapped around you never let go of your chest

like the sheathed presents I gave and gave to you

never went unwrapped

like you never made my eyes flood with wood

splinters

as a roaring river would in its rage,

when told a drought would make her bare

and dull any semblance of grief

to make those narrow streams run dry

no, it would never stop flowing

knowing all the love I gave

would never be held tenderly

like the gift it was supposed to be

that my wrapping paper never prompted you enough

to unravel me

like I didn’t belong to something distant,

and I wouldn’t be carried away by the wind

that you claimed would always keep us together

the soft light illuminated the edges

it was soft, but intense

like the rims of your eyes when you held me

like the flinch in your cheek when you told me

that broken birds don’t fly

gentle but distant, I am only at your edges in thought

but the way your arms wrap me up

sweetly

softly

gently like the clouds I see

they are dispersing and I don’t know which one is you

and sometimes I ask for rain

so a plethora of clouds can hover above me

and I can pretend that other faces in the sky

could swallow me tenderly as you do

you tell me stars are beautiful,

that you can see the reflection in my eyes when you’re above me

hovering like that cloud I’m trying to find

you like to hide from the lights you see in my edges

I am a dusty attic that lets too much light in

I am more than your eyes can bear in my eternal semi-darkness

when you’re pretending to sleep

I never thought that something so pure

so selfless

as starlight

could burn your fingers

the birds that flew by us whispered that love doesn’t entail flight

but as I watch the clouds gather, I see more and more faces

and the crowd consumes me

so unlike the way you swept me away

you are the sea and the clouds all wrapped in one

your turbulence rocks me back and forth

and I mistake these waves for a deep love

they roll inside me with a gentle force

and when they crash I can feel them washing me

cleansing me

healing me

I know your ocean will never be deep enough to hold all of me

your arms limp branches that sway in the wind

you say my breeze is one you cannot handle

that a dandelion kiss would knock you to the ground,

as the wind would to a broken bird like me

there I would lay, patient

breathing

breathing for you

breathing for both of us

until our breaths are one

and my eyes remind you of something deep,

like an ocean

you’ve always been scared to go beneath

you say it's suffocating to be in love

but you keep me in your waters

close to the edge, by the shore

you could rescue me if you wanted

but you tend to keep me where the waves are breaking

I’ve learned to like breaking as the waves do,

and after a while, this back and forth dance feels like you’re rocking me

gently,

as if you love me

hesitant —

as if you’re afraid

but you twirl me about anyway,

your limp branches coiling my calloused fingers

and each time I come up for a breath

you’re there to meet me

the deepness of your eyes brings me further into your depths

so I’m no longer in the shallows

and the water turns red, just like the way you taught me

how love is supposed to bleed

this is what it feels like to drown sweetly

now I’m looking up to the sun that hovers above your surface

the way the ripples distort its shine reminds me of something broken,

but beautiful

and I think of your love

and a body that was deep inside me, too

perhaps I hold you in an ocean of my own

but I’ll never know the depths you sink to

and you can’t be too far below the surface

for I would never let you drown

my water, it would be blue just for you

I would hold you above the surface with hands you say scathe you

you twist starlight into something tangible,

or sickly

like red water that tries to seep into my sea

my love is warm but your water scathes my skin

with anything but the softness of stars

whose light you claim incites fire

the water you gave me

I’m learning to let it run over me

through me

like those pretty colors you showed me

that came in all sorts of shapes and sizes

you say you will only find in someone else

and my heart burns from the furnace you wept into

but I’m told that love can do that

and with greater depth there is more complexity

confusion

and sometimes you might need to

hold your breath before you surface,

to breathe as a lover would

you should feel the water filling up your nose,

so deeply it becomes you

and now I am your ocean

but I am still such a small part

I watch the fish around me and realize that they are in deep, too

and you say I’m special

but I begin to wonder

what separates me from all of these other fish

these beautiful things

that have colors and shapes of all sorts

that you will never see in me

I tell you my ocean is deep enough to hold you

but you will never go beyond my surface

you tell me the turbulence of my waves is too intense

and yet i’m the one who is scraped by the sand

so I lessen my force for you

I can no longer dance when my waves are not rolling

I become a fragile lake,

a body of water that could never hurt you —

but has the capacity to eat away at a person

who lessens their depth for someone else

I suppose I would like to be a cloud

like the one I saw that reminded me of you

its edges are soft but its body is powerful,

like a crow determined to fly

even when its feathers are plucked off

it all just makes me wonder

whether drifting away as a cloud,

or taking flight as a crow would

from a love that could hurt me

is a better way to love

than drowning sweetly

in the depths of an ocean

I am sure to get lost in