The Cloud Factory


as a little boy
we’d drive up the turnpike
and I’d look out the window

I used to think
that the power lines were full of music
and that the water towers
were full of music too

near exit 13
there were gasoline tanks
wide and flat and painted white
they resembled birthday cakes
without the candles
and held an average of 4 million
gallons of fuel
All kinds of fuel.
Jet fuel. Hytest. Crude Oil.
I thought the fuel tanks were birthday cakes

I thought “One day, the 50 foot woman
is going to burst out and I’ll get to ride around
on her body.”

I’d heard somewhere about women bursting out of cakes
I couldn’t wait to see it for myself

I used to think that the oil refinery
just north of those birthday cakes
was where clouds were made.

I thought it was a Cloud Factory

Those plumes of thick white exhaust
billowing up into the sky
from the tall brick smoke stacks
That was always my favorite sight
to watch through the back seat window
I’d fog up the glass,
hands and face pressed hard against it

I used to think that place made all the clouds in the world
even, sometimes, I imagined
when productivity was ramped up
that the Cloud Factory was able to supply Heaven
with all the surplus clouds it needed

At night, the cloud factory looked different
it was all lit up with a hundred thousand orange lights
that made it look exactly like Gotham City.

Now, when people ask me what I do for a living
I tell them that I work in Gotham City

They know exactly what I mean by that
if they are from New Jersey

Or, I tell them that I work in the Cloud Factory
and that it’s a happy life I have

the life of a man who makes the world’s clouds.


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