Kazim Ali

The River Cloud

On paper, on the sky, on the river’s mad meniscus


I’ve drawn a blank


Remaindered against the banks, pressed there by the current


The river dispersing into the light gray


Cloud me down by the river edged with willow


The smoke of the river cloud canticles


A thought river between shores leads out and out


River draw all this through me


What’s hidden beneath the hull of the boat


Or in the cloud of the river


Future river feeding


The charts are no good


The far shore disappears


Give it to me now to live


In the river’s unmaking epoch


Locking itself into the oars


Onto the boat my cloud


Boat my body


Body my oar


Oar and fog


Fog oar rowing


Cloud oar rowing



The River Cloud appears in The Far Mosque (Alice James Books, 2005).