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I grew up

in a house made of clouds

with walls of wind

and floors of fine red dust.

I could stretch my wings

and never come to an end of it.

I grew up

in a land made of storm,

whose hills were updrafts,

whose valleys were downdrafts,

all spiraling inward.

I could glide for miles or months

and never come to the end of it.

I grew up

in the Great Red Spot.

My parents moved here

from the homeworld before I hatched.

I watched the silver eggs fly by without wings,

and mother would crackle to me that they

belonged to humans, who lived

in houses of hard wood

on lands made of dust.

I felt a little sorry for them

to be so small, so solid, so finite,

and said so. My father laughed,

a broadband burst of static,

and said that some people

envied the humans,

wanting to walk on dust

and live in wood

as they did.

When I stopped laughing back,

I said no, no—far better

to live in a cloudhouse

in the stormland

and be free.

Elizabeth Barrette writes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in the fields of speculative fiction, gender studies, and alternative spirituality. She serves as Dean of Studies for the Grey School of Wizardry. She hosts a monthly Poetry Fishbowl on her blog. She enjoys suspension-of-disbelief bungee jumping and spelunking in other people's reality tunnels. You can email Elizabeth at, and see more of Elizabeth's work in the books Companion for the Apprentice Wizard and Composing Magic, and in our archives.
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