Cloud by Sandra Cisneros

Before you became a cloud, you were an ocean, roiled and
murmuring like a mouth.
 You were the shadows of a cloud cross-
ing over a field of tulips.
 You were the tears of a man who cried
into a plaid handkerchief.
 You were the sky without a hat.
heart puffed and flowered like sheets drying on a line.

And when you were a tree, you listened to the trees and the tree
things trees told you.
 You were the wind in the wheels of a red
 You were the spidery Mariatattooed on the hairless arm
of a boy in dowtown Houston.
 You were the rain rolling off the
waxy leaves of a magnolia tree.
 A lock of straw-colored hair
wedged between the mottled pages of a Victor Hugo novel.
crescent of soap.
 A spider the color of a fingernail.
 The black nets
beneath the sea of olive trees.
 A skein of blue wool.
 A tea saucer
wrapped in newspaper.
 An empty cracker tin.
 A bowl of blueber-
ries in heavy cream.
 White wine in a green-stemmed glass.

And when you opened your wings to wind, across the punched-
tin sky above a prison courtyard, those condemned to death and
those condemned to life watched how smooth and sweet a white
cloud glides.

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