to know what she was thinking
as she felt the cold gray clay
in her hands for the very first time.
Like the other kids
she would have been fascinated
by the instructor
making it look easy
making it look like control
wasn’t something you had to master.
But there must have been failures
before the bowl finally took shape
spinning in her cupped hands—
her fingers pressing the slightest ridges
into the softness.
She wasn’t thinking then
that the bowl would harden in the kiln
or that the purple and green glaze
would chip away over time—
because time isn’t something
you think about when you’re 10.
When you’re 10
all you want to do in art class
is create something to impress your dad
still opens the cabinet around midnight
reaches for the precious bowl
pours the milk over the granola—
and in a kind of ritual
runs his fingertips along the date
and her name
scratched into the bottom of the bowl
as he takes a bite.
“Man Eating Soup” by Albert Anker, 1831 – 1910