clay on my hands, grey, cold

colder than expected, pleasant

against my skin. wedge the clay, palms

squishing it into itself, spiral, spiral

fold, drop, toss into a ball, hand to hand

pat pat, pat pat. slam onto center

of the wheel, wham down twice

with my palm. start the wheel

dip my hands in the water, luke-

warm, cup the clay and squeeze

squeeze, squeeze–fingers pressing

pulling it up, up into a shaking cone

pushing it back down, down, side

of my right hand pressing, left

hand supporting. thumbs press down, in

rhythm, slow, not too thin, not too

fast. pull out, pull up, knuckle braced

on thumb, fingers slowly grasping

caressing the earth into fluid

motion, making something out of

something that was once

something that was once

nothing that was breathed into

life a long, long time ago.

it is not easy this, spinning

balance, this finding the still point

exactly in the middle

and shaping everything around it

centered. it tips and wobbles and

lurches beyond repair and I

squish it all into a shapeless lump

and start again, clay squishing between

my fingers, until something

emerges, something that has

worth, something I can make

beautiful. but I guess this raw earth

this handful of cool, grey clay

has worth by simply being

by simply having the potential

to be something more–

and so it already is.

this is the first thing I’ve learned

for me and only

me and I breathe and it calms

the always unsteady sea inside

of me. and yet as I press and

smooth and cup and

shape, as my fingers glide over

nothing becoming

something, I cannot help but

think of you

and think of how I can’t help

wanting to give you something

beautiful.