by Elizabeth Stoessl
Inside the dead sculptor’s studio – dayroom
for abandoned statuary – clay children
sprawl, limbs fractured, patched with dust.
Stray tourists wander there from the stone inn
next door, flattening spring crocuses
on their pilgrimage down the sea path.
They peer at the scattered clay bodies
through sand-caked windows. Waves rumble
and mock their voices, their murmurs
of weariness, flight and real estate.
Mornings, I pour their coffee and eavesdrop
on their wishful chatter: How they might buy it all,
market the broken bodies, display them
on the sculptor’s lawn. How they could be
innkeeper, salon-holder, biographer
of the sculptor and his loves.
How they will be recognized
in the general store.
Late afternoons I watch down on them
from my attic window. I plot gardens,
private meadows of no ordinary flowers
where they will never walk. They’ll leave
Providence on Sunday trains, and for a while
my clay children will be safe.