the committee of clouds

The Committee of Clouds

When I was woken by the ghost of my mother this morning,
my lips tasted unusually bitter and sarcastic.
‘Wake up,’ she said, ‘wake up,
the sunlight from here sure looks fantastic!’

And I whispered, in my head,
and wondered, ‘How can you tell?
Do ghosts have eyes, do you
retain your sense of sight as well?’

But this is all in my head, remember.
I did not want to argue with a ghost,
especially not my mother’s.

I followed her.

When I became a ghost myself,
I remembered my father, too,
and we could’ve been a family,
a committee of clouds, if you will,
if not for his relentless drinking and
the consistent puffing of cigar smoke.

The drunken arguments, expressed
in unintelligible cinquains,
the sorry letters, the tears,
the carbocisteine chains.

And he coughed, the fool—

But father had his share
of sweetness, too; his friends
spy on us and ensure
our ruin.

Still, my mother thought I was strong
(she was wrong).

She said that I had happy memories,
innocent, chaste, untouched
(my childhood was not that long).

And I rarely played with people,
but I played with fire,
and played with bees,
but if memories are what I need
to fight in states like these,

Then surely, I remember
breaking branches from the trees
to stir the hive.

Flowers cried.

I remember bees shaken,
in the honey-nest’s almost-fall,

drones and maggots,
queen and all.

— A. P.

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