Bowl, in the Shape of a Bristol Boat
He carved the bowl for her, a hull so small
it floated in the ocean of her palm,
rocked when she breathed, held still when she was still,
its body, purpleheart and maple,
sanded and polished, sanded and rubbed until
the grain became a topographic map
by which to chart itself. The wooden bowl
pushed forward, billowed a nonexistent sail.
No rudder guiding it, no mast or wheel.
The world was split between her hand and all
the latitudes that lay beyond her hand—
a kitchen tabletop, a bookshelf filled
with Kant and Aristotle, a windowsill.
He built the shell for her, as if to show
she was still water, and then the waterfall.
Previously published by Third Coast. Excerpted from Stateside, Northwestern University Press, 2010