Draft for VV

An Old Photo Reminded Me That —

Mama loved her bedtime stories, back when
I was small enough to get lost in my bed.
She’d tell me tales of the pottery woman
who, all day, all night, turned out pottery
in a pin-prick-small corner of her room.

She’s in there, somewhere, behind silvered
layers of glass. Look in a mirror, Mama’d say,
and you might see her, sitting there making
squat jars. Tall jugs. Fat shapes. Never people –
no, no, she didn’t like them so very much.

She didn’t like what they said — people shapes
that misbehave. They whisper and tease her
wilting ears. She was like a chameleon, there
amongst black, there amongst white, sitting
with shadows that spat at her heart.

And that old woman, Mama said, smelled like
the long passing of time. Smelled like over-ripe
plums, or autumn’s spiderweb ghosts, or colours
drained, and dripping thick from tree limbs.

The pottery woman’s life was a glacial affliction
of silvery black on white. Even red terra cotta
lost colour in her hands – it gave up on hope,
on her heart, and just left her behind one day.

There, behind layers in a silvery mirror.
Left her there, dying like a grey stone.

for May’s Visual Verse Image

 
 

May_VV

9 responses to “Draft for VV”

  1. Such a deep passion for that art. I admire how you captured her with:

    And that old woman, Mama said, smelled like
    the long passing of time.

    Like

  2. Wow–flashy and hard-hitting, with lots of possible back story implied. I liked the lines /there amongst black, there amongst white, sitting with shadows that spat at her heart. Pretty dark tale for a toddler.

    Like

  3. I’ve dropped out of VV for a while; after three years of keeping up with every prompt I needed a break. I love what you’ve done with this month’s image, Misky – it’s amazing what we get out of old black and white photos, sometimes more than from colour. I love the phrase ‘back when I was small enough to get lost in my bed’ – I did that once when I got tangled up in the bed clothes and couldn’t find the way out (I was only two or three). The pottery woman is a shadowy, eerie figure, not overly scary but enough to give me a thrill. I also like ‘sitting with shadows that spat at her heart’ and ‘smelled like the long passing of time’. The ending is incredible!

    Like

  4. You’ve taken an image and created an amazing myth-like, folkloric story to go with it. The imagery is so powerfully real. I especially like the scents you apply to her. Just beautifully done!
    So glad this is the first poem I’m reading this early morn. Chased the jet lag away and has me now in a receptive mood to appreciate the creativity behind the slivers of a mirror….in the words on my computer screen!

    Like

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