Mark Saba has been writing fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction for 35 years. His book publications include three works of fiction and three of poetry, most recently Calling the Names (poetry) and Ghost Tracks (stories about Pittsburgh, where he grew up). His work has also appeared widely in literary magazines around the U.S. and abroad. He is also a painter, and works as a medical illustrator at Yale University.

Why So Many Gorgeous Clouds

Why so many gorgeous clouds,
El-Greco-like, lovely torn rags hanging
in all their shades of gray?

Is it just that I notice them now
or do they foretell a dangerous future
by introducing unknown shapes,

having given up on us
and all our silly names?
What if they don’t like being called

nimbus, cumulus, or fairy cirrus?
Tired of being predictable
they paint the rush hour sky

with shapes the size of Gibralter
guarding the passage between what we know
and where we’re headed

giving us a choice to ogle
or disregard them
who watch over Earth.