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



Race Off

The fantasy of race transformation
Namwali Serpell


Suicide in Fiction, Reconsidered

Why we need stories about living after a suicide attempt
Morgan Thomas


Discipline and Abolish

Writing, power, and mass incarceration
Rachel Kushner,
Caleb Smith

You Might Also Like


The Staircase

Christina Pugh


First Snow

Aria Aber


Become a subscriber to get four beautiful issues a year for just $49—and help keep print culture alive.