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After David Hooker

I am trying right now—
this very syntax, these terms—
to make a cup
a stranger might put in his mouth
the way I have put cups,
have put art to my lips,
and the glazed lip of art on my tongue
for mornings, for years.
If this endeavor sounds strange,
imagine the shock when I damaged
my back moving around my studio
a few hundred tons of language like new clay.
Consider the loss when I broke to pieces
and reclaimed the dust of twenty-three old psalms
with still water and refashioned them
as a letter to my congressman, a bulletin announcement
for church, and a song I sing my son at night.
And the pain—you must know this—I endured
when in my own inattention to the natural
signs of my materials, the vessel cracked
of its own accord and I burned
my hands with liquids so hot that I swore
in the name of art, never to try this again.

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