In the store-room of antiquities

1 March 2017

Lifting a wrecked ship’s amphora, an infant-sized container, skin scabrous and shell encrusted, Feel this hollow, brittle form he said, handing me its dead weight and oh I wanted him to braille my thoughts, discover me in haptic ways. But he described the taxonomy of amphorae, detailed shapes and their uses, how some held wine, others oils or perfumes, even those designed for weddings and funerals. Decanted an archive of types: Kernos Lekythos Lebes Alabastron, the names for orifices convex, tapered, rolled, swollen, bell, decorated, two-tiered, beaded, inverted.

I watched his mouth, envied its intimacy with amphorae lips.

Inspired by an amphora, retrieved from a Phoenician shipwreck in the Mediterranean, and shown to the poet by an archaeologist.


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