There is a massive cloud
Stretching from the Puget Sound
To the Chesapeake Bay.

The peak of Mount Rainer
Pierces it, and it bleeds acidic liquid–
Not quite water, yet not quite deadly.

Sugarloaf Mountain reaches for it,
But this cloud extends beyond
The mountain’s grasp. Ghosts
Of Confederate cavalrymen, cloaked
In bleached hoods, grab their Sharps
Rifles and fire upon the cloud.
They pelt it with bullets; the
Cloud pelts the surrounding
Countryside with snow.

Not in retaliation–the cloud
Is incapable of such a thing–
But because the bullets leave holes
In its ominous mass, and snowflakes
Flutter through them like ballerinas.

When this cloud reaches my home,
I spy it through my window.
I gaze at it for moments, trying
To gauge its intentions. Its secrets
Are kept locked behind an expressionless
Stare. Defeated, I retreat into the kitchen,
Fix another cup of hot chocolate,
And then retire to my bed for the day.

Copyright 2012
A. J. Hayes
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