Marjorie Maddox


clouds with border marker
Karen Elias “Whether with Borders”



                       -after a composite photograph

                         by Karen Elias


These seasons, you’re never sure whether          

the weather of now steps through 

or over the barbed-wire borders   

of others’ spaces, but here the clouds—

as textured as clogged lungs—hover  

precariously close to the past of then. Face 


it; each night, you still breathe in faces

clamoring across borders—their weather

of worry: the wind that stalls and hovers

over the landscape of you. Born a nomad, you threw

shadows across lightning; watched clouds,

heavy but mute, re-form foggy borders.


Spaces, wide and open, still haunt, the sky a bad border

you can’t evict. Her mottled, gray face—

begging always for mercy—keeps clouding

the view. Weather, whether, the calm eye of whatever

blur in the whirlwind you try to step through

into space that fences home, hovers


in the sun-streaked rain that hovers

with its empty promise over the bare soil. Borders

call from across the horizon. You yearn to walk to and through,

to hold close your cloak of questions and face

the unreliable temper tantrums of weather

prophesied in each Rorschach of clouds.


Fair skies/foreboding? The clichés of memory choose “cloudy,”

that fifty percent chance of happiness hovering

over your front porch seconds before you decide whether

to step off into the forecasted storm, just beyond your borders,

the ones that make you feel safe, but aren’t. You face

the inevitable, wandering wind; hitchhike through


any opening into the future, now through,

you promise, with all that’s past. The back-lit clouds

beckon, and your aging, weathered face

forges on into the unpredictable. Hope hovers

in the breeze you breathe beyond borders

in that lush language that uncovers whether


or not each wave of weather crosses over and through

to broader spaces, gathering ancestors, former selves, all that hovers

so close now to hope, to your un-cloudy, border-less face.