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Alfred Corn-I

Out  Behind  the  Kiln



A dump, a graveyard,

a midden for so much

crockery the potter

decided to shed, ideas that didn’t quite

shape up in the throw—plate,

bowl, cup, figurine—or some

that got themselves chipped just

after the glaze hardened.


Pine needles released

from the permanent sighing

overhead year after productive

year have accumulated, mulching

the discards in, solid colors,

corrugations, calligraphic fragments:

though left in pieces, a readable

summary of evolving skills.


Some items, to all appearances,

are whole—like the one earthenware

Buddha, a robed plumpness seated,

unhindered and at ease. That lidded gaze

lightens every crackup it takes in—

all of them in his mind nonexistent,

so much painted illusion. Illusion, and yet

a waste, a waste land, empty and broken.