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.