CLOUDS, WINGS
by Taylor Graham

    If the wind is in the west,
    why do clouds reflected in a young girl’s window
    insist on traveling south, or almost anywhere
    away?  This morning the wind’s
    a buttermilk song in the sky.

    Her mother checks for cumulo-
    nimbus packed tight just out of sight
    over the mountains, and every hour
    darker.  She shuts her mouth,
    to not start thunder.

    A daughter watches the sky
    and counts how a single cloud
    becomes two and then four
    or twelve or twenty: generations
    of insubstantial lace.

    A girl lets clouds in her head.  She sails
    above everything a mother ever cautioned.
    Come washday, those wings
    bleach out, rinse away, go flying
    like laundry from the line.







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