Two Tea Bowls

Even cooled, each thrown bowl burns
in the potter’s molten eye,
the crazed ware still crackling there.
These were her designs—to see a shape
before a shape was settled.
To put her whole weight behind it.
No more than that. In the end,
whether the glassy-eyed painted koi
would trap each other in a dance
across the dipped bisque
was out of her hands.

The first time I caught your gaze
I wanted to hold that lean look, to run
my finger over that flaw in the glaze.
I treasured what we’d begun.
We gave up on alchemy,
on changing essential natures.
Meeting you again, I’m cast anew.
The heart is a blasting, continuous
kiln: opened during firing,
all its wares explode.

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