Poetry / July 2018 (Issue 40: Writing the Philippines)

The Ceramic Lesson

by Christopher Rose

My mother is a hardened woman,
overcooked stoneware in an earthen kiln:
cracked, resilient, unyielding.

She tells me my friends are foolish
for dying in a car crash, hopes I've learned
people break too easily.

After an earthquake knocks her molded cat
to the floor, where it lay shattered into pieces
like the thousands of islands in the Yellow Sea

she sweeps up the remnants
with a tambo broom and an uncharacteristic
softness for a shattered sculpture of porcelain,

a relic of a gentler era, where she hums
a kundiman while sitting in a pottery shop
off Magsaysay Drive, I scribble with Crayolas

in a Highlights magazine,
pause, watch across time
with a quiet envy as my mother

with an unfamiliar gentleness
caresses the neck of a peacock
and with a careful stroke,

gently brushes blue
along an outstretched feather,
paints gray in unwatchful eye.
Website © Cha: An Asian Literary Journal 2007-2018
ISSN 1999-5032
All poems, stories and other contributions copyright to their respective authors unless otherwise noted.