The Study of Clouds by Kathleen Peirce

Originally published in the Autumn 2014 issue of The Literati Quarterly.

after Constable's Willy Lott's House, near Flatford Mill

It's too easy to say something once. So says
John Constable's adamantine dog of paint,
of black paint thick on a brush made of fur
for the hind fur, white on another for the fore,
whose paws neither touch nor paint the ground,
though it seems otherwise. Light casts
doubt there. The same light emboldens
the house's front like a looker unwilling, finally,
to look away, brightening the house so wildly
the pond collapses in its shade. Know
I waited like a dog. I said my sayables over
like an olden door, like a dog, like a sky made
by clouds. I saw myself become a lace of spray.
Then a door opened on a friend, world-made,
sitting like a painting on the edge of my bed,
hair down, shirt off, who also let me really look,
who also could and did look back at me.


Kathleen Peirce teaches in the MFA Program at Texas State University. Her four books of poetry are MercyDivided Touch / Divided ColorThe Oval Hour, and The Ardors. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the Whiting Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, and The Guggenheim Foundation. Among her awards are The Iowa Prize, The AWP Award for Poetry, and The William Carlos Williams Award.