Across our bowl
deep as our atmosphere,
you provide friction for those attempting re-entry.

Clouds are garments you put on and discard.
You layer them up and peel them off.
When you fling them
they scoop us up and hurl down on us.

I saw your bare chest once
on a late summer evening in northern Canada,
your salmon ribs as you lazed above the landscape.

I don’t know why I thought of winter then,
how impossible when enmeshed in one
it is to imagine another.

I tried to see the lake frozen over, updrafts of snow,
you bundled in a thick gray coat, turning away.

Do you get tired of people staring at you?
Do you like the attention?

We parse you for clues as to what is to happen.
Once predictions are made, we ignore them.


Alison Hicks is the author of poetry collections You Who Took the Boat Out and Kiss, a chapbook Falling Dreams, and a novella Love: A Story of Images. Her work has appeared in Eclipse, Gargoyle, Permafrost, and Poet Lore, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Green Hills Literary Lantern. Awards include two PA Council of the Arts Fellowships. She is founder of Greater Philadelphia Wordshop Studio, which offers community-based writing workshops.