Colorado Clouds
by Tamora Whitney

    A hundred miles before the mountains
    they appear on the horizon
    misty as clouds, in fact I think they're clouds.
    They don't look substantial enough for mountains
    I could see right through them; they can't be rock
    covered with trees and moss and streams. Then
    the sun shines off a snow cap and I know
    they're real.
    ___________They become solid on the horizon
    and suddenly it seems I'm there inside
    mountains behind and still in front
    until they're everywhere I look, surrounding
    me. The sky becomes a circle.
    There is no horizon, only mountains
    like walls up to the blue sky ceiling.
    There is no flat, only rocks crawling
    up as far as up. Pines twisted
    into cracks on the stones reaching
    for a piece of sky. And the circle
    of sky is filled to brimming with clouds
    tall as the mountains, brimming over mountains
    bursting bright over the edge of rocks.

    Amid these mountains I forget now
    the flat places I came from. The world
    is vertical now, and I'm on top looking
    down into valleys watching eagles
    catch the breezes through the cliffs, hiking
    through forests lost in trees pines and aspens
    and looking up to mountains down to ground
    below the ground I walk on.
    ___________Coming back
    I always watch until they lose their form
    become misty as clouds again behind.
    The world becomes flat as a circle again
    and up ahead, in the wrong direction,
    the clouds low on the horizon sunlit
    look so real I swear I could drive
    right to them, look so much like mountains.

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