Nude Plates

Felicia Mitchell
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. 


Felicia Mitchell
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.