Dec 29

You As Atmospheric Phenomena

By Hannah Cajandig-Taylor

There are no original sentences about October. You make mental notes about clouds that live here, weather that happens there, what layers of atmosphere are closest as you rest in a plastic chair out back, wearing the golden autumn sun on your cheeks. You memorize the shreds of stratus clouds, learn the numbers of their patterns, linger on the classification of L9’s, H4’s, M6’s—whatever two-character sky stretches above your painted house. Life is stable in the stratosphere, planes winging teachers and scientists and businessmen and mothers with babies wrapped in terry cloth from Milwaukee to St. Louis before connecting to Dallas Fort Worth, or Atlanta International, or another place I should abbreviate to a three-letter code, but I never can. Meteors burn when entering the mesosphere. Space shuttles and blazing auroras share the thermosphere and an upper limit exists, but right now, it is the furthest thing from you, a place in which a part of us connects to a part of everything in the trenches of galaxy—an exosphere you will never get to see, teetering on the brink of calm and calamity. Your stories are half eaten. You are heavy with clouds.


Hannah Cajandig-Taylor resides in the Upper Peninsula, where she is an MFA Candidate at Northern Michigan University and an Associate Editor for Passages North. Her prose and poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Gordon Square Review, Drunk Monkeys, Coffin Bell, and Sidereal Magazine, among others. She has a bike named Stella and enjoys murder documentaries.



Art by Michelle Johnsen, art editor

Michelle Johnsen is a nature and portrait photographer in Lancaster, PA, as well as an amateur herbalist and naturalist. Her work has been featured by It’s Modern Art, Susquehanna Style magazine, Permaculture Activist magazine,, EarthFirst! Journal, Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, and used as album art for Grandma Shake!, Anna & Elizabeth, and Liz Fulmer Music. Michelle’s photos have also been stolen by, The Daily Mail, and Lancaster Newspapers. You can contact her at mjphoto717 [at]