The Bowl

by christine on April 15, 2019

Write a poem about a thing that you own, and why (and how) you love it.

© chris smart

A small brown stone bowl
four inches in diameter
rests on my desk, invisible
until now, this moment 

dull amber laced with intricate
curving patterns carved into the stone,
no ordinary bowl-
a gift from a wise man, a shaman.

after he died, his possessions as gifts 
set out in the alcove where his body
rested, laid out for three days in his home.

I didn’t want to be greedy and take 
a soapstone sculpture, his knife or beads.
This plain brown bowl (spoke to me) 

made continents away, perhaps carved 
by the light of the moon while dreams beckoned
him to sleep the long sleep and this engraved 
bowl, scrolled with curves and a calligraphic

symbol on one side: the name of the artist perhaps
or a legend. This bowl I love 
as I loved the man who once owned it
his quirky shamanistic wisdom.

Buttons, paper clips, elastics,
thumb drive and battery
held inside – all dull 
in themselves yet cradled in the bowl.

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