Stoneware Bottle with Broken Lip
Out of the hot Maine July noon
In a listing antiques barn,
Among the kitsch and jetsam,
This bottle with no handles grabbed me-
With no raised foot, tripped me up.
In the white sun a wince in the height of day
Cool concrete and wood lured my son and me in
Beneath the Picker’s Palace sign-
His baseball cap shading his tumble-haired head
His search focused tight on musical things, and games-
When cheek by jowl to scalloped milk glass
And faded beige satin pincushions
The chipped gray gleam of its little mouth in the gloom
Blew me a kiss. I swear.
I heard the phantom snap of ancient pine ash melting.
We climbed a flight of metal steps
Saw chairs and chests and Esso signs
And came back down with my sturdy boy clutching
A harmonica still in its box, and a dinged-up iron putter
But my hands empty longed for the rich brown bottle.
A freckle of stony bits complicated its skin
Stippled with fly-ash, unsigned, alone, out of place,
The mark of a twisted cutoff wire beneath its narrow bottom,
Its belly swelled with old sweet fire…
I bought it. What was the tiny price? Some paper tag long gone now.
copyright Mimi Stadler 2012