April 16: Amphorae

by allisonkujiraoka

Jars of clay to transport precious commodity

fueling an ancient economy

bearing gifts of golden oil and ruby wine

that cleanse, heal, beautify

and light the lamps at night.


Wheel-thrown terracotta pots

inked with their maker’s mark

stamps of ownership still visible on shards

that litter land and sea

a thrill for modern archeology.


Earthen vessels with inner skin of resin

relieved of their libation

and not worth sending back

re-used for human wastes and ashes

if deemed fit for even that.


Humble ceramics with height and heft

a mouth, a lip, a narrow neck

crooked arms on shoulders

oval belly, slender feet

fragile though strong, temporary though concrete.


It’s no wonder the Apostle compared you to the human form

whose body houses treasure intangible, poured out but not consumed

an eternal soul that does not flatten when pressed

nor despair when distressed

as the living raise their voices to attest.