Virginia Terry Derryberry, April 1980
These plates have been licked clean,
the porcelain stained with saliva
that reads like Rorschach blots
for those who see breasts
where others see blue irises
while I just look and wonder
how saliva could take on more meaning
than ink spilled across a piece of paper.
C. A. McGill, 5-9-1977
On my hearth is a tall clay vase
that usually stands empty,
though it will hold dirt or water.
I like it full of cattails and lilies.
Visitors think it’s an elephant foot,
sturdy and flat, capable of holding up
the weight of the world. It’s not.
It’s just a tall clay vase, constructed
of coils and fired in a kiln in a college
classroom many years ago. The hands
that made it were the first hands
of my first lover. I remember these hands.
I can feel them shaping the coils, turning
and twisting, smoothing and churning,
until the torso of a young woman emerged.
Or an elephant foot. It doesn’t matter.