By Dolores Hayden
Focus on the shapes. Cirrus, a curl,
stratus, a layer, cumulus, a heap.
Humilis, a small cloud,
cumulus humilis, a fine day to fly.
Incus, the anvil, stay grounded.
Nimbus, rain, be careful,
don’t take off near nimbostratus,
a shapeless layer
of rain, hail, ice, or snow.
Ice weighs on the blades of your propeller,
weighs on the entering edge of your wings.
Read a cloud,
a dense, chilly mass
can shift, flood with light.
Watch for clouds closing under you,
the sky opens in a breath,
shuts in a heartbeat.
Source: Poetry (April 2014)
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