Beauty of Shards

Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico

The clay was her teacher,
her cool wet guide to the next shape,
her lesson in clear judgment –

the purgatory of the kiln
in which the clay died a death
she could grieve wholly in sadness and love.

The kiln – the sun that grows too hot,
too bright not to remind us of some distant power
in the great dark cosmos – dimensions of gravity,

because it is the sun’s daily job to be where it is
placed in orbital inexactitude like this shard of old pottery,
the one in my hand with most of a purple blossom fading

or the piece of green bottle glass,
its cutting edges only as rough now as working hands,
and a bit of old pitcher,

part of its lip still attached.
The flowers on it are yellow under scratched glaze.
That is a scallop shell on the pink sand beside a wine bottle bottom.

Las golondrinas will fly away
when they sense food somewhere else and return to the barrio
or they will flop broken-winged here in the dump,

el basuero of the many broken flowers –
in the kiln of sun –
desiccating among the fractured beauty of shards.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of seven books of poetry, his newest book, Icarus Rising, Misadventures in Ascension, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.