Terre Glaise

This poem is about my father, who worked as a potter before he began teaching high school. My mother made jewelry, and they sold their work in the New Orleans French Quarter on weekends. The name of the pottery shop was Terre Glaise.

A red coffee straw juts from his mouth

And bobs up and down as he chews it;

Flecks of clay dot his face

As the wheel whirs the misshapen mass

On a mad carousel around and around;

His hands and fingers move,

Working the clay,

Molding, shaping his creation.

His other works of art

Stacked on a wooden table —

Glazed jars, bowls, and dishes

Reflect the sunlight.

He scratches Terre Glaise 1979

On the bottom of each.

This jug will be different,

Hiding the image of an embryo

Amid the swirls and patterns;

She sits to the side

Braiding macrame jewelry.

They will soon sell their work

At the French Quarter — but not this;

It is for her,

And for the life they have created.