Fady Joudah

Cloud Watching

Choose a continent, and in it, a country
      Doubled over itself on a postcolonial map,
As if a styracosaurus to the north of it
Had driven its horn into the belly—Imagine
The shade of cloud-watching,

The country a kidney-bean, a bi-lobed
Nucleus, the isthmus, two camel humps
       Or two breasts—And in it
Choose a grandmother and her daughter
Dancing and clapping for you around a cardboard box,

A makeshift incubator
That housed their preterm twins
Until the breasts were filled—And if a silver
      Thermal wrap, paper thin, lambent,
Is thrown on top of it all, box

With twins and blankets on grandma's head,
      There would be singing
The whole long walk home—Imagine
A clay-brick hospital with plastic sheeting for a roof,
And a skeleton rolls

In on a bicycle. A grapefruit-size uterus,
A fungus in the mouth—And when that mother
      Is dead and no breast
Will touch her newborn,
And if the father

Takes his son and your formula milk
Across the country, past the horn in the belly,
Searching for breasts, he would find them
Cumulus as clouds—
      One looking more like god.