The Potter

by Ela Thompson

My hands sloppily on the wheel,
pressing, molding the spinning cylinder
thinner & thinner, until I stretch it too far
& the too smooth clay flops limply into itself.
I push things too far, I know.

You said something about how I get too close, how I smother, but I didn’t get close to you, not once.

Look here where the clay is lighter-
This is where I talked you into a corner,
my lips moving faster than my mind
knows how to keep up with,
sound bombarding, ricocheting
off blank walls & blank canvas.
I don’t want you to hurt me again, but perhaps your hands are flames.
I remember how their hot touch brushed against my skin & turned to cinders, how they once fired clay.

There was a pot we made together. Perhaps I held your hands gingerly over clay, perhaps I spun the wheel before you, perhaps I whispered.

I only wanted to make something beautiful & permanent.

I’m in fragments, fragmenting

I want to be whole again
I searched for solace in a man, perhaps I made him
of clay. Perhaps I sung life into him, I don’t know because I was busy looking

In the dark I see white bones along the side of the road and think of you.
Small, white, thin, fragile-
I am blood.
I am wine mixed with so much saltwater & lead. I poisoned the mouth of a river where they poured me in.

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