My Nanie appears to me like cloudshift—gradual, and beyond my eyes’ own floaters

SW clouds migrate like laborers: San Antonio, Chicago, Detroit, Westland

White flight

I keep time by her rosary beads, by her childbearing and child loss, angina attacks, her name change to Angeline

Padre nuestro que está en el cielo nublado

Emblazoned in gold-leaf cursive on the fingernail-pink cloudbed on which she stands in her dyed satin pumps: I’m not Mexican, I’m Spanish

She meant I am better than my Aztec-dark husband

She meant my color is milky way, is Mixcoatl

She meant, I am lacerated by assimilation

Grandmother tongue

Ford country, Princess House

Her skin as I knew it crepe paper with liver spots

Flour tortillas inflate like hot air balloons then blister burnt and brown

If you mean class mobility, say la Ascención

Some clouds move so slowly you doubt your own drift

Remind yourself: sometimes they are flocking, sometimes it is the stuff in my eyes

Sometimes I can remember her voice

I never once heard her say my name or her own en español but if she did I would break apart like Altocumulus

Remind yourself, your cousins: there’s a classification system

Genus species

Cirrus fibratus, for clouds like girl-veils

Latin, Linnaeus

Names for the ground-bound

Name me the god that ever said hydrometeor

Ruskin studied Turner and drew diagonals

One more thing ruined by the 19th century

Taxonomy blinds

Train your eyes to see shape, you lose shift

Features, you lose face

He who in his infinite wisdom crafted skies for human eyes unable to take in vast blue expanses unbroken


Name them for their mother-clouds

Cumulus mediocrus cataractagenitus, for waterfall’s vaporbirth

Remind tus primos, tus primas: her latter-day cataracts

Our Lady of Cloudy Vision

On our First Communion banners she spelled out our names in felt letters

ALICIA, supplicant

Blood of Christ, Body of Christ: a cup cut from yellow, and a white circle floating above for the unleavened Host that dissolves on your tongue like history

Name me for my abuela-cloud

Say it: Alicia Angelita