Oct 182014
 
Jammed in with the other chucklehead kids
Elbow to elbow along the blonde wood bench,
We listened to our smock-draped art teacher
Prattle on unmocked,
Dipping old hands in a big water bowl, wetting her thumbs,
Digging mean-faced into a skull-ball 
Of gooey grey clay
Until she, and we following puppylike,
Held up hands dry as moondust
Before faces streaked with smiles and tempera.

She showed us how to mold a thumbed cup
With hands too little to palm a football,
How to perch the harp-shaped handle
Like a sipping hummingbird
To the completed cup's fine side,
--Fingertip-push-and-smooth-it-out--
Until, looking up at her, I could see 
Honeyed nectar
Loading the tumbler
I was tasked to shape that day.

As the worked clay squirted 
Between my worm-white fingers, I remembered
The model of humanity in science class,
A plastic invisible woman
Limberly naked and displayed on the windowsill.
Afternoon speared her crystalline,
Lung and tongue,
Illuminating the swift delta veldt 
Tucked unseen
Between assertive thighs,
Her veins ribbons from heel to hand.

And I remembered,
There, among the blue tubes
And red pipes and ribs like playground slides,
The plum heart lodged,
Awkwardly unglued, but lit a sweet pink
When pinned by daylight--
And I noticed, looking down at my hands,
How my own clay lump was heartish,
Lobed like her's, like her's
Heavy and wet.

I slimed and shaped my raw thumbed cup
In a fever-fervor, glazing runnels of water
Over twining layers of aorta and vena cava.
I rushed to paint my heart alive and leave it
To be made glossy by fire in a silver kiln
Warm as a giant can of Sterno
Until I carry it home another day
To lay before you, waiting for you
To fill my handmade heart
With honey.


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