The Taxidermist & the Cloud

by Michael Bazzett

Michael Bazzett

The taxidermist looked at the creamy musculature of cumulus
outlined against the blue.
Only the thick stuff from the top,
he murmured. And so crisp in this light.

Then he inquired: How would you like to be this way forever?

The cloud had yet to hold a pose for even
the slenderest moment, allowing the slow churn of air to turn
it always into something

else. I've got rain in the belly and thoughts of roiling
up into the body of a thunderhead
before toppling back down in a fine-haired mizzle, said the cloud.

But I could capture you from the best angle
and make you beautiful
forever, said the taxidermist.
And how long would that be? asked the cloud.

Longer than you can remember in both directions,
said the taxidermist.
The cloud sighed. I can only always remember myself
as water through and in the above and the drenching

deep into the soil until bearded roots pull me through green
bodies into sky.
I am both verb and ocean.

That's not a bad little speech,
said the taxidermist, lighting a cigarette.
He inhaled the smoke hungrily through his nose like a wolf
and sent a miniature
cloud from his throat. Very funny,

said the cloud. A strange odor hovered in the air, like singed tin;
before the crackling bolt struck.

Last updated August 21, 2022