Say The Cloud Boy

say a visible life is best,
and say one feather in the jar, six
fires in a sleepy neighborhood
and say the snail begins to cross the long dark table
while the chairman, early for the meeting, stares,
his face like the square of pork inside a can of beans
and say the dog without a master noses at
a small unambitious object, say the doll stares
at the sleeping child with envy, the old
lady wears a hat so red her head is burning
and say in a closet where the janitor is sleeping
voices quarrel on the radio about a dream-America
and clouds delight in riddles: now what am I?
and then say in the dark the cat
abroad sees something big and runs away in pleasure
and just before the solstice, say the tiny stars are crisp
in a shiny black sky, the breeze no longer a blessing
the shadow of a young tree naked, say a boy with
his new cloud belly floats above the branches
and the stubborn curves, floats above the
cricket fond of the music of sticks
who stays up all night long just listening
and say this wide expensive book
displays blue rivers in the brain
say it's just a cinder otherwise,
red earth to wrap it, grease to spur the fire
tasty for the creatures in the dirt
a gift unwrapped by weeks of rain
by lightning, by either end of daylight
that makes the green lens shiver and the old tree sigh
like a door for the spirit, loose on its hinges
and bangs like a stranger who comes when the wind comes

Robert Gregory | Mudlark No. 17
Contents | Someone's Been Eating the Moon Again