Clouds Taken for Mountains

Nicholas Bradley

For one reason
or another

I hadn’t flown
for months, the habit

of airports having
escaped me,

the familiar
terminal hassles –

the scans and checks –
having given way

to familial
excursions, brief

trips by car
that the baby

would endure,
and on my first night

away, as the sun
set on my flight

to Santa Ana,
to a desert respite

from drizzle,
rendezvous with friends

in creosote
country, he went

to bed as usual,
I imagined,

and said so long
(in his mother’s

voice) to his books
and mobile, bears

and rabbits, and cried
till sleep relieved him

at five past seven,
and I was left

alone with a full
moon pink outside

the continental
window, craters

and spires beneath
the cloudland drifting

under the portside
wing, my purpose now

to learn how to leave
and return without

disquiet or heartbreak,
to let him be

and to be constant,
even in mid-air,

when one thing
looks like another.

Nicholas Bradley is a Canadian poet, literary critic, and editor. His most recent book, Rain Shadow, was published by the University of Alberta Press in 2018. He lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

Originally published in Moss: Volume Six.

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