Clay

Luis H. Francia

Words turn into pots and pots turn into words.
Edmund de Waal

Throw the word on the poet’s wheel,
Write the mud on the potter’s desk.

From bone and ash I need to spin
shapes that sing to us of blood,

Of lives that are more than wisps.
Celadon, faience: I grow stone into

Days, I seed my verse with
Earth. A vase, a bowl, a cup,

The hard ceramic of

Sonnet, haiku seen in clay,
Whatever vessel I choose, may

It transform water into wine
But also simply be—a lyric hewn in

Place, our gaze rendered worthy
Because of it. There welling

From the kiln,
Dwelling of a kin-

dred spirit, the heat of a
God that burns, imparts to a

Life fire and its glaze:

My self stitched into flesh by the word, and
However imperfect, shaped by potter’s mud.

Luis H. Francia is the author of the poetry books Tattered Boat, The Beauty of Ghosts, and Museum of Absences. A member of the New York Writers Workshop, he is on faculty at New York University and at Hunter College.
Originally published:
July 1, 2019

Featured

A Faceless Compass

Johannesburg’s haunted streets
Ivan Vladislavić

Case Studies

A critic tracks herself
Margo Jefferson

Geoff Dyer

The essayist on not having a career
James Surowiecki

You Might Also Like

The Staircase

Christina Pugh


Subscribe

New perspectives, enduring writing. Join a conversation 200 years in the making. Subscribe to our print journal and receive four beautiful issues per year.
Subscribe