Trapped on the Potter’s Wheel – Poetry by Catrina Doxsee

Out of nothing, our ideas evolved,
twisting and squelching like fresh
wet clay, dripping warm ooze through
trembling fingers. We are
the artist; we smooth
our smidgen of uncertainty
and close narrow gaps between chapped
knuckles. We are left to decide
the curves and twists of the
earthen sculpture, liquid and pliable
under the showy guidance of
aching joints. It’s survival
of the ficklest in a world of
arthritis-ridden bones too jaded to admit:
stubborn mistakes harden into
concrete permanency.

We could create with indifference, yet
like any artist, we are at once injected
with a burning serum of
self-righteousness and over-confidence.
We mold clay with a twist of the
wrist or the push of deliberate fingertips
while watching our competition shuffle
in our “wake,” scrounging for dropped shards
of broken masterpieces,
long forgotten and never missed.

(Or so we say,
in coiled words and cocksure overtones,
digging those still diddering hands
deeper into the depths of coat pockets,
unseen.)

All the while, the potter’s wheel
creaks by with its unseen hour hand
completing revolutions:
around,
            around,
and the angular momentum of time shapes our clay beneath
egotistic hands floundering for more.

It yields only clay dust,
convincing us that if we subject
this earthly whirl to the
kiln’s inferno, or the sealing glaze
smeared in excess over baked pores,
reeking,
then maybe it can continue
forever.


About the Poet

Catrina Doxsee is a writer and policy analyst in Washington, DC. She earned a BA from the University of Chicago and an MA from Johns Hopkins University.

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