Cloudbank 16

This poem by Jeanne Wagner was the winner of the Cloudbank 16 Poetry Prize. 

Seeing Our Prunus cerasus in Bloom, I Remember Your Short Life by Jeanne Wagner

			Between our two lives 
			there is also the life of 
			the cherry blossom.
				― Matsuo Basho

At fifteen, I dressed in the white froth
that was my first formal,
tiny pink buds stitched along the tulle.
My neck and shoulders bare.
You’re blossoming they all said,
almost making the sign of the cross
to fend off their fears.
This morning I saw our Prunus cerasus
stricken into beauty. Suddenly
it’s become a Seurat, a hazy Monet.
The bees, a faint tickling inside the bud.
I know they feel its rapture, sense
how the fragile blooms will soon confetti
and sail off with every random breeze.
Years ago, I got back from the hospital
to find the cherry trees had turned.
I thought their beauty a travesty then,
the prodigal way it happens:
blossoms falling from branches
like spent birds. I think of the word
blastula, from the Greek for bud.
A sound like a small detonation.
Briefly, one thing lives inside another.
Yet every year the bees come
back, feeding on its bliss.

Poets and writers in Cloudbank 16

Sonia Alland
Chris Anderson
Bruce Bond
Judy Brackett
Cory Brown
Thomas Brush
Claudia Buckholts
Christopher Buckley
Narcis Comadira
Ginny Lowe Connors
Caleb Coy
Jannie M. Dresser
Salvador Espriu
Alice Friman
John Glowney
Peter Grandbois
Joe Harper
Tim Heerdink
Laura Reece Hogan
Elizabeth Kerlikowske
R.D. King
John Kooistra
Sheree La Puma

Rebecca Lilly
George Looney
A. Molotkov
Robert Morgan
Richard Newman
Angela Patten
Rachael Peckham
Doug Ramspeck
Jeanne Shannon
Gary Soto
Gabriel Spera
Lynn Stearns
Marjorie Stelmach
Jody Stewart
Robert Stewart
SM Stubbs
Julia Thacker
Leslie Ullman
Jeanne Wagner
Moira Walsh
Francine Witte
James K. Zimmerman

Poems and flash fiction in this issue include “Buying Stuff” by Joe Harper, “Launch Sequence” by Gabriel Spera, “War Games” by Gary Soto “Divorce” by Lynn Stearns, and “But Here’s the Thing” by Cory Brown.