The Potter’s Field

By Amit Majmudar

Featured Art: Study of Arms for “The Cadence of Autumn” by Evelyn De Morgan, 1905

Something lumpen, something slapped
Wet on a wheel, cupped and spun,
Sculpted; something hollowed, bellied,
Shapely; something held, watered,
Coaxed into a poised amphora.

Soiled hands smooth their own prints
Like still winds pressed to the spinning earth.
Brittle even after the fire,
The vessel is what it holds:
Ashes, ouzo, roses, olive oil.

I never understood your choice,
Or what that haggard savior held
For you, until you told me the part
Of the cemetery where the dirt poor
Returned their poverty to the dirt,

Repossessed, anonymous,
No grave-goods but a prayer,
Used to be called the potter’s field—
Barren furrows, fruitful now with clay
Scooped and pulsing in your hand.


Amit Majmudar’s newest poetry collection is What He Did in Solitary.

Originally appeared in NOR 20.

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