Thought Cloud

by | Mar 7, 2023 | Poetry

 

THOUGHT CLOUD by Barbara Ungar

Thank God, they cannot cut down the clouds!
—Thoreau

The clouds are not cotton batting in the jewel case of the stars.

The clouds are not swimmers in the stratosphere.

The clouds are not the sledges of the gods.

The clouds are not charging dragons

_____or sharks with open jaws.

The clouds are not harbingers or symbols.

The clouds are not old dreams of Turner.

The clouds are not children shrieking Marco! Polo!

The clouds are not drones hovering above impoverished villages.

The clouds are not the braille of angels.

That one is not a baboon turning into a crab.

The clouds are not airships

_____though they may resemble the petitions of illiterate sailors.

The clouds are not striving or competitive.

That one is not shaped like a penis,

_____or not for long, anyway.

The clouds are not endangered. Or invasive.

The clouds are not the longing of refugees in cages

_____or camps, though clouds may be the only beauty visible there.

The clouds are not doodles of the dead.

They’re our single stream of tears recycled

_____and reincarnated fields of snow.

They are not translatable.

They can not stay.


Photo by joannapoe, used and adapted under CC.

About The Author

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Barbara Ungar’s sixth book, After Naming the Animals, is forthcoming in June 2023 from The Word Works. Her prior book, Save Our Ship, won the Snyder Publication Prize from Ashland Poetry Press and a Franklin Award from the Independent Book Publishers Association, and was a Distinguished Favorite at the Independent Press Awards. She has work forthcoming or recently published in Scientific American, Crazyhorse, and Small Orange. Her work has been translated into Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Bulgarian. A professor of English at The College of Saint Rose, she lives in Saratoga Springs, New York. For more details, see www.barbaraungar.net .