• Vol. 06
  • Chapter 07
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An Old Photo Reminded Me That —

Mama loved her bedtime stories, back when
I was small enough to get lost in my bed.
She’d tell me tales of the pottery woman
who, all day, all night, turned out pottery
in a pin-prick-small corner of her room.

She’s in there, somewhere, behind silvered
layers of glass. Look in a mirror, Mama'd say,
and you might see her, sitting there making
squat jars. Tall jugs. Fat shapes. Never people —
no, no, she didn’t like them so very much.

She didn’t like what they said — people shapes
that misbehave. They whisper and tease her
wilting ears. She was like a chameleon, there
amongst black, there amongst white, sitting
with shadows that spat at her heart.

And that old woman, Mama said, smelled like
the long passing of time. Smelled like over-ripe
plums, or autumn’s spiderweb ghosts, or colours
drained, and dripping thick from tree limbs.

The pottery woman’s life was a glacial affliction
of silvery black on white. Even red terra cotta
lost colour in her hands — it gave up on hope,
on her heart, and just left her behind one day.

There, behind layers in a silvery mirror.
Left her there, dying like a grey stone.