Paint on Clay: Homage to the Mimbres by Edison Dupree
A brave people, who sat up straight
in the grave, with only this perforated
sacred bowl to protect their heads
from the sad hail of dirt clods
dropped by the mourners; and to allow
the curious soul to come and go.
Soul could ride on a grain of sand,
sucked up and whipped around
in a dust devil; or just as happily
fall, in a raindrop’s belly,
to feed their spindly light-green corn;
or drift away and never return.
Here, on a bug’s back, a tiny man is
clutching a spear for balance
as he walks the painted wire.
But look how busy the bug’s legs are!
They gallop in place on the broken-out hole
and it spins like a broken wheel.
First appeared in Salamander. And forthcoming in Boy with a Ball (Seven Kitchens Press, 2019). Reprinted by permission of the author.
Edison Dupree’s collection, Prosthesis, appeared in the Bluestem Award series, and his earlier chapbook, A Rapid Transit, was published by the N.C. Writers’ Network. A new chapbook is forthcoming from Seven Kitchens Press. He lives in Cambridge, Mass., and works as a library assistant at Harvard University.
Why Poetry Matters: At its best it can get strong feeling across from one stranger to another. That seems miraculous.