The Cloud Watchers

by Terry Jude Miller

In Richmond, Texas, there’s a cotton seed plant across the road from Oak Bend Hospital. Drive by in the right season and the air is sweet with the smell of crushed cotton seeds.  You can almost forget that across the street a sullen doctor is walking into a young father’s room to tell the patient how sorry he feels. The air of the hospital is filtered and conditioned so the tincture of caramel cannot interrupt the news, but through the window the man and his weeping soon-to-be widow see tiny puffs of steam from the chimney high in the center of the plant’s largest building. The white ghosts pull gently away from corrugated metal, joining the tragically blue Texas sky as its newest travelers.  The couple struggle with what cannot be said now—what needs to be said before long. So, they hold each other, watch the infant clouds being borne and remember the sweet perfume of something that they can’t quite name.


TERRY JUDE MILLER’s is a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet from Houston, Texas. The recipient of a plethora of poetry awards including the 2018 Catherine Case Lubbe Manuscript Prize, the Georgia Poetry Society 2018 Langston Hughes Award, a Juried Poet for the 2011 & 2012 Houston Poetry Festivals and winner of the Global Peace Poem competition of the 2012 Tyler Peace Festival, his work has been published in the Southern Poetry Anthology and in scores of other publications. Miller has published four books of poetry, the latest, “The Drawn Cat’s Dream”, won the Catherine Case Lubbe Manuscript Prize. He is the creator of the Texas Poets Podcast.

Photo by Vlad Chețan from Pexels

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