A Weary Pattern of Dissolved Shell

Please, all we are asking you to do is to recognize that we are humans, too. – Desmond Tutu


Where knees and kettles impress soapstone,
black and cracked and smooth, the fire’s heat

radiates. A manor’s shuttered panes hide rain
slipping from the eaves into pools, ice-edged

and poked by sleek blades of grass crooning for
a greener season. Someone’s butter- knife scrapes

raspberry jam across toast. Crumbs sprinkle
the wool rug, designed with scrolls and rhombi.

On a winter day, four in coarse flax roll the rug
into a bulk flayed across the snow. One on either end

two women wield mattenkloppers, woven from
supple wood, and beat until insects freeze

and dirt fringes the form. Sable diamonds
settle across the landscape like a procession

of mourners. Adjacent to gangly apple trees,
impressions along a fence-line belie the unnamed,

some with rough-hewn field stones whose epitaphs
watermark like breadcrumbs on melting snow.

Overhead, tree silhouettes sprout birds clasped
by a pelagic sky to settle beyond ebony soapstone,

where the fire’s heat once radiated but now dimples
a weary pattern of dissolved shell in a sanded box.