This is the moment that machines
Have toiled to:
Isaac lifts the two stone ball of clay
And smacks it on the wheelhead,
His foot prods forward,
And the wheel turns.
His hands, dipped at the tray
As if by afterthought,
Grip the cold clay and press
With subtle conviction, centring the mass.
As he feels it give to centrifuge,
His hand, beginning the mystery,
Has already shaped a hole
That presently, elbow deep,
Swallows his entire arm.
He knuckles up the belly,
Lifting weight high for balance,
Coaxing walls just thick enough,
Smoothing with an iron rib,
Then bringing in wide shoulders,
Enclosing darkness, his desire
Clay to the neck:
A sudden quickening,
Fingers slipping the moist hole
That harvesters’ dreg-galled lips
Will rest at, until,
The wheel slowing,
It is done.