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Dear Cloud

She wrote a 366-page poetry book about what she continually failed to say, even as she knew he longed to hear.

Chapter I

Clouds. A poet’s mother called them “puffballs.”  Soft cotton balls. How can something so soft be dangerous when contextualized under X-ray to be interruption of bone?

Chapter II

Her mirrors hear many thoughts unspoken to others.  Like, “What does it mean that Daddy had to die before I could become big enough to be a parent?”

Chapter III

Her father died of brain cancer. She wrote a 366-page poetry book about what she continually failed to say, even as she knew he longed to hear.

The title begins, The Light Sang…

Chapter IV


As necessary to sunlit, blue sky as horizon.

She practices religion by believing, There’s nothing so sad as a false metaphor.

As pointless as skim milk flowing briefly into Senegalese coffee.

Chapter V

Carl Andre once said, I do not, in my poetry, try to find the words to express what I want to say. In my poetry, I try to find ways to express what the words say.

Still. Some words can never be just words.  For example? An adjective based on ethnicity.  Like “Guam,” used just twice in an English poem and in both instances meant to be a synonym for a “stopping point” on the way elsewhere.  A pass-over.

A pause.

As if no island existed with its specific body, history and people.

As if words can erase …

Chapter VI

A “puffball” killed my father. A white cloud as soft as his daughter who nonetheless also killed him.

Where is the comfort to your whispered, “Life causes death”?

Chapter VII

You are approaching me with an oversized white ceramic cup on saucer. Steam rises from your hand.

You place before me your offering: “a low fat café au lait, just as I know you like it.”

I look down to a white puffball frothed from skim milk.

I force myself to smile at the cloud.  Still.  Soon, my hair to be a soft cloud loosening rain, rain, rain.

© Eileen Tabios

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Dear Cloud
by Eileen Tabios
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