“If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper.”—Thich Nhat Hanh
Before you became a cloud, you were an ocean, roiled and
murmuring like a mouth. You were the shadow of a cloud
crossing over a field of tulips. You were the tears of a
man who cried into a plaid handkerchief. You were a sky
without a hat. Your heart puffed and flowered like sheets
drying on a line.
And when you were a tree, you listened to trees and the tree
things trees told you. You were the wind in the wheels of a
red bicycle. You were the spidery Maria tattooed on the
hairless arm of a boy in downtown Houston. You were the
rain rolling off the waxy leaves of a magnolia tree. A lock
of straw-colored hair wedged between the mottled pages of a
Victor Hugo novel. A crescent of soap. A spider the color
of a finger nail. The black nets beneath the sea of olive
trees. A skein of blue wool. A tea saucer wrapped in
newspaper. An empty cracker tin. A bowl of blueberries in
heavy cream. White wine in a green-stemmed glass.
And when you opened your wings to wind, across the
punched-tin sky above a prison courtyard, those condemned to
death and those condemned to life watched how smooth and
sweet a white cloud glides.
*Sandra Cisneros (born December 20, 1954) is an American writer best known for her acclaimed first novel The House on Mango Street (1984) and her subsequent short story collection Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories (1991). She is the recipient of numerous awards including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and is regarded as a key figure in Chicana literature.
Oh my goodness, those final lines left me a little misty eyed. I do not recall reading Sandra Cisneros before but I certainly enjoyed Cloud and in case I haven’t told you 1000 times Getting Me Back (The Voices Within) released this month and is now available in digital or paperback. I will be saying it again, and again… and again in case you missed it. As a matter of fact I am going to paste it on every NPM post.
P.S. If you have a recommendation for a poem (even your own) Get in Touch