Coloured pottery lid, Egyptology

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2013
From the collection Growing Up Too Fast

A big blue circle drawn
with long, wavy arches,
uneven edges all round,
faded and dull.

The curves are sunbeams,
painted for Ra by hands
that couldn’t keep
inside the chunky lines.

The piece is shaped
horribly. Fat fingers
have left lumps
on its buckled edges

and it lags here
behind old museum glass,
not wasting a speck
of static, rough pot.

The ancient who made it
couldn’t be proud of this.
But we’ve kept the exhibit
as long as I remember.

Pale people in factory
cotton and plastic
come see it every day.
Squinting, thinking.

Someone like me glued
together these cracks,
chose where to stick it,
this thing that we made,

like your kid’s drawing
held by fridge magnets.
A still stick-man family
and a big yellow sun.