Survivors of a volcanic explosion, cross-
hatched, charred, incised—Loul’s ceramic
amphorae line the allée, protecting us
(from what? They’re called “Gardiennes”). Quick-
silver-smeared, burnt sienna, cerulean, ash,
his jars loom. One, a gigantic fig-wasp, waits
to be impregnated: her breasts swell in a rash.
Out of the fire we tumbled: Earth creates,
cremates, we’re mud, burnt mud and scarred
each with a signature: like those children there,
wheeled through the vernissage, each body paired
with a nurse to manoeuver the small wheel chair
over the garden ruts, among the guests,
canapés, champagne in plastic cups, the chat.
Their thin arms jerk, heads tilt over caved-in chests—
and isn’t this just how each of us will sit
in our own way and time? And the Earth was
without form, and the potter pressed the heel
of his hand in clay, then gathered to pinch and fuse
fjords, mesas, moraines, and the squiggles we call
human. And were we good? Or have we ever
been? Two arms, two legs, a swollen noggin,
and the chunked, twitching gristle of heart to stir
us to smash and caress, to roam off, to remain.