Wednesday, April 9, 2014


When you took me dripping from  the vat
  what I felt was not birth pangs, rather
a sullen sense of becoming particular,
     a lump with a weight  but not  a shape
at another remove from Mother Earth

Sat on a wheel and stared at
  I could not look back,
but suddenly  subjected to inertia---
 (who could be sure?)
under the pressure of hands
  I could do nothing but comply
  leaving nature
to enter history, as it were,
a  bit of identity
  out for a spin

O revolution! A space
  began to hollow out
   where my center once was,
and then a mouth,
   a base due south,
and far north
  of finger corrugated walls
  made smooth by palms
     a lip

What I would be--
   elongated vase or
   bosomed amphora
  or cookie jar---
I scarcely had time
   to wonder;
if I'd be slim or stout,
 crowned with a top
  or given handles
though a matter of concern
  was quite outside my control
  dizzy as I was

Very well, then, I thought,
  I'm done;at last
that infernal
  whirling's over:
  what's this?
an unguent is spread upon
  the form  I am
and seeps
  into my pores

And on a tray
    with barely recognized
cousins? siblings?
  I pass through a curtain of fire
  where an angel stands guard
who will not release me
 from the blaze
   until the will
 of the hand is fast.

(Dec.10 1996)

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