THE SCULPTRESSLast night she dreamed her eyes could melt the earth.
She sets clay on the mat, begins her work.
Beneath her fingers, clay births a slow body.
She dreams she makes the seasons, palms winter
into clay, takes into earth dust of the moon,
ashes fallen from the mantle.
The sculptress kneads the clay, loosens a voice:
I am part birch, part bone, part sunlight
on the window pane. The new body feels the forest
sliding shadows down its spine. With each dance of
fingertips over new limbs, the body feels the language
of miracle seeping in.
When night falls, galaxies glow
in the blood. Oceans lap
cliff seams, mountains.
As earth slips into breathing, as waves
become birth rhythm, the sculptress opens
her hands, her own prints seep into clay.
The sculptress hears: I am part birch, part bone,
part sunlight peeling off the roof. She sees
the body glow
watches the tall figure, sure footprints
moving through the door. She watches redwood
shadows slide down the spine, a body returning to earth.
Copyright 2000 Julia Alter