I made clay people and released them.
They tumble down the front hall,
naked, fast as flat feet can paddle.
I pressed in gumdrops for eyes,
rubbed the wet velvet of their shoulders,
kissed their taut bellies, and on each,
the protuberant dimple that bears
the mark of my creation most of all,
where I snipped them from the vine of clay
like a melon, an insouciant melon that
will leave me someday, the one day
I forget to close the front door.
They will scrabble and roll
down the stairs, out into the cold,
blend seamlessly into the world
as if they aren’t clay at all,
as if this was to be expected
and I shouldn’t be shocked by their absence,
which was the purpose of my making them
in the first place,
before love made me forget that part.
4 replies on “Clay People”
Beautiful and surprising.
what a lovely poem. beautiful.
My favorite part of this is the very very end. The way that the rich roll of the descriptive language and the momentum of the action run smack into the flatness of those last two words. After the masterful fluidity of everything that’s come before, the perfectly human imprecision of the “that part” makes palpable the miscalculation inherent in all parenting (“Oh yeah–*now* I remember…”), and gives the poem a hard stop that, no matter how many times I read it, just guts me. Heartbreaking and beautiful.
Ditto james. And, even with just leaving a hopefully meaningful print, I felt Clay People right away. Beautiful, moving, accurate, heartbreaking.