the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night




Joanne Grumet


I love to buy them closed
tight as dancers' thighs
and watch them leap open
in my warm room

Their colorful skirts balloon
and slowly, slowly they lower
over their green leafed base
and dry in place as if posed.

Let me die, too, after
such a show.


Vivian's Pot

Meanwhile the slap and thump of palm and thumb
On wet mis-shapenness begins to hum

— John Hollander, "The Mad Potter"

Eros we understand
with our fingers, our palms,
as when we touch
a lover's  silky arms
but Apollo demands
decorum of art:
you must not touch.

A  potter even so enjoys
wet mud  so much
when as midwife  she
slaps the  clay  to life.

And thereby came into creation
a tall ceramic vase
whose glazed lip chipped
while in my possession,
but whose integrity remains  intact.

What pleasure to get flowers
the right length and fullness
for this  vase,  what pleasure later,
while  putting the piece away,
to trace where  the potter's hands
have  smoothed  the porous  slab  of  clay.



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