Cloud Land

the mind is its own place : do you really mean what you do : i’m open-
ing with this : a man visible from his thick thighs up : off the
coast of winter breaking through snow

thigh high and the moon is a huge mirror strapped to his back
beating white into everything around him and there’s a song i
can’t hear playing in his mind : and that music is his alone : as
yours is : : and mine :

and we build what we will under that moon whether we admit it
or not : weather : : the world spins and it snows : the world spins
and it’s spring : change : and the song changes too but slowly and
knowing that : herein at last we should be free from the mael-
strom : seasons : years : change

that’s the only constant right : but there are events that hap-
pen rarely : rara avis in terres : a rare thing that shapes the melody
or the horizon inside the moon-man’s mind : we call it death or
pandemic sometimes or once when i was in college there was a kid
who’d never seen the snow and we took him to a mountain there
and found it : i remember him getting out of the car to touch it
and he moved so slowly like he was in a movie or something :
and i was surprised when he started to cry : we were young then
but still male : still : marble

: and the word i need comes from architecture and describes the
raised space between the channels carved in a triglyph : femur :
still tied to muscle and limb and founded on the brittle strength
of bones : we were both rapt weren’t we : wrapped

in tendon and tears and even writing that i feel too maudlin : but
i watched him bend : femural : it’s the largest bone in the body and the
hardest to break
: ephemeral : and his thighs were roped and too
big and when he bent it opened a dark sea between the waist of
his jeans and the unstained anatomy of his lower back and i was
lost between his sweatshirt and his name : : Carlos but i called
him C and he turned then : and now i see his hand forming an
ampoule for storing liquid : medicine : a glass carafe and i see a
clear medium tinged with white and frozen clouds becoming a
solid thing between us and he said : in my country we can’t have this
: how water becomes geometry when it freezes : and i came here to
learn it
: how i said : in my country we can’t have this

Artist’s Statement
This poem is a project from my hybrid collection, Tension : Rupture, out from Tupelo Press this August. This poem is me looking back at all the competing identities I had to live through when I was younger. “Be this,” or, “Be that,”—”I could never say that,” or, “I wish I would have.” I missed a lot of chances to grow and to be myself. This poem is me hoping those misses keep coming fewer and farther between.

Cutter Streeby is an entrepreneur ( among other businesses) and holds an MA in English literature from King’s College, London and a Master’s in poetry from the University of East Anglia. He has poetry and translations in many journals including Lit-Mag, The Cincinnati Review, The Chicago Quarterly Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review and more.