Slavery’s Slippery Touch
I shattered knowing hands
would search for shards, demand
you see the perfect and the marred
dig in clay and sift through dust flung-far for pieces lost in dung-ash-earth an ocean’s scar
and dead-eyed glaze of thirst in recent sea a precious little girl is gone to me.
I wonder ware to turn and turn and turn a loss I cannot flee. Conceive
that river’s gaping mouth, ferocious flow, no stay, no route to track or trace
or trade the echo’s sound erased along this way like empty space
within these pots’ clay walls history
shatters begins again forestalled
(Slavery’s slippery touch, its slippery, slippery, touch. . .)
Reprinted from Praise Songs for Dave the Potter: Art and Poetry for David Drake, edited by P. Gabrielle Foreman. Copyright © 2023 P. Gabrielle Foreman. Reprinted with permission of University of Georgia Press.