Queen's Quarterly

Queen's Quarterly
Queen's Quarterly

Nineteenth-Century Nephologies

Anthony Purdy

On 27 November 1840
an oar hoisted a spray of foam
over the Rio Negro.

At first light
on 30 April 1882
clouds formed in the southern sky.

In an unnamed city, on an unspecified date,
he once caught a glimpse
of a book’s marbled binding.

Book in hand two old clerks
gazed at the Normandy sky
and tried to distinguish

nimbus from cirrus, stratus from cumulus,
but saw only horses’ manes,
scattered islands and mountains of snow.

Placing this next to that
on the timeless rectangle you keep
tucked away in a quiet corner of your mind,

you scan for likeness or repetition,
for regularities of form
that might ground the metamorphic play.

But how will you curate a cloud, ...

* poem, in its entirety, is available in the printed version of the current issue.


Anthony Purdy lives and writes in Nova Scotia. Recent publications include stories in the spring and summer 2020 issues of Queen’s Quarterly, as well as poems in the Goose, Prairie Fire, the Dalhousie Review, and the Fiddlehead. Further poems are forthcoming in Prairie Fire, the Dalhousie Review, and Queen’s Quarterly.