If meat is put into the bowl, meat is eaten.
If rice is put into the bowl, it may be cooked.
If a shoe is put into the bowl,
the leather is chewed and chewed over,
a sentence that cannot be taken in or forgotten.
A day, if a day could feel, must feel like a bowl.
Wars, loves, trucks, betrayals, kindness,
it eats them.
Then the next day comes, spotless and hungry.
The bowl cannot be thrown away.
It cannot be broken.
It is calm, uneclipsable, rindless,
and, big though it seems, fits exactly in two human hands.
Hands with ten fingers,
capacities strange to us almost past measure.
Scented—as the curve of the bowl is—
with cardamom, star anise, long pepper, cinnamon, hyssop.
from Ledger (Knopf, 2020); first appeared in Brick. Used by permission of the author, all rights reserved.
I dip my hands in April among your faces tender, O woven of blue air and ecstasies of light! Breathed words of the Earth-Mother, although it is November, You wing my soul with memories adorable and white. I hear you call each other: "Ah, Sweet, do you remember The garden that we haunted—its spaces of delight? The sound of running water—the day's long lapse of splendor, The winds that begged our fragrance and loved us in the night?"
This poem is in the public domain.