Issue No. 9, Summer 2014

Cloud Fables
Jonathan Travelstead

Computer progress is made in sterile,
nearly-empty rooms. Pale light. Painted in eggshell.
There is a table.
On it lies the new model:
a white homunculus without eyes
as if made from an incomplete mold.

*

He bends over his creation,
the young centenarian with smooth brow,
toned physique.
Even the iridium of his eyes
no longer detect the tiny geometries
spinning inside the body’s composite shell,
soft as vellum. In his hand
the obsidian scalpel can not locate the seam
where techne divides from pulse,
where the quantum chip like a black coin
is sunk, humming in the chest.

*

A puppet-maker unwinds string from a spool,
He secures hemp from eyelets screwed in the wooden fingers,
limbs, and features of his doll,
to a cross-shaped paddle he jigs and jaunts,
checking that it moves like it’s real.

*

An electron spin’s inaudible susurration
warbles in one direction, then seven more.
Packets of light
bending information there,
here.

*

Enter the white room.
It is in a white skyscape on a white walkway
spanning a conveyance of clouds.

*

We all want to be the Maker.
In a queue we each stoop over our father’s angel,
one by one enter our transition.
Each brush of lips against the smooth cheek
flushes a warm and welcoming red,
and we go outside and lie down
atop one another, leave our friction-worn bodies.

*

The new model of lonely god
sits up on its slab above the cloud’s albumenal white.
Walks the street between robed bodies
piled like temples on either side
and then names it Avenue of the New World.
Nothing else to do,
it stops at the platform’s edge
and, willing dark into light,
the god is aware of its denuded form.
Wet with moon, it looks down on thinning sheets.
Imagines the possibilities of wind,
variegated leaves,
cells like children’s blocks
stacked on terra firma.
Considers falling instead, forever.
Now. Take in one hand a bit of cloud.
Make earth. Then take a single crescent of rib.
Create.
Or leap


Jonathan Travelstead served in the Air Force National Guard for six years as a firefighter and currently works as a fulltime firefighter for the city of Murphysboro. Having finished his MFA at Southern Illinois University of Carbondale, he now works on an old dirt-bike he hopes will one day get him to Peru.