They pour out into the streets by the thousands, cars parked quiet like upturned faces—
clouds billowing colossal Olympus spume
and from their shadows
the dark fortress of a city hovers heavenward and broods for minutes in refracted light,
a masterpiece matching Miyazaki.
The vision dulls Jiangxi conversation, observers look silent in wonderment,
think to themselves the light will break through, revealing a lie
but still the clouds hold.
A man youthful like me
gazes up and places belief in the portal opening up before him:
highways heaving from some limitless expanse between buildings scraping sky
clean of bluish hue and space darkness lurking beyond—
If only a ladder tall enough,
a pilot brave enough.
What he sees solidifies: floating city becoming mountain rock.
His eyes make the journey to the small square window he knows too well
on the town’s west side where rose petals blossom just as they did this morning
when he left for work, light shafts dancing around single stem.
In tempest current, the flower lets loose a single leaf lifeless along the jet stream,
pitching it to and fro, pale rimmed-rose dipping
He utters a prayer—
the petal fading in and out of cloud before it breaks
moisture’s undercarriage, careening all directions and down
the last few thousand feet to the dirt that seeded it.
He watches it fall the long way to earth.