Mother Clouds

by | Nov 6, 2019 | Poetry

If my dead birth parents are clouds, floating over their countries and drifting into others, I am a cloud, too. In the shape of a moon. Tree. Half-moon, mangled heart. The World Meteorological Association tells us that clouds often form or grow from other clouds, called mother clouds. There are two kinds of mother clouds: genitus, where a part of a cloud may develop, and more or less pronounced extensions may form; and mutatus, where the whole or a large part of a cloud may undergo complete internal transformation, changing from one genus into another. So my body, my being, my seemingly birth parent-less self is a cloud, too. This is why I float. Even mountains and rocks change form and mutate. But I’ve always felt most at home near the water and looking up into the sky, where most any day I’ll see at least a few clouds. A cloud is technically a hydrometeor, made of minute particles of water and ice, sometimes with particles of fumes, smoke or dust. I imagine my birth parents had some particles of fumes, smoke or dust. I am fumes, smoke, or dust then, too.
Mother Clouds by Lee Herrick

Photo used under CC.

About The Author


Lee Herrick is the author of three books of poems, Scar and Flower, Gardening Secrets of the Dead, and This Many Miles from Desire. His poems appear widely in literary magazines, textbooks, anthologies, including Columbia Poetry Review, The Poetry Foundation, Indivisible: Poems of Social Justice, and Here: Poems for the Planet (Copper Canyon, 2019), with an introduction by the Dalai Lama. He is co-editor of The World I Leave You: Asian American Poets on Faith and Spirit (forthcoming in Spring 2020 by Orison Books). Born in Daejeon, Korea and adopted to the United States, he served as Fresno Poet Laureate (2015-2017) and teaches at Fresno City College and the MFA Program at Sierra Nevada College.