Jenny’s pot

Needs a rescue

From the high shelf

On the turquoise bookcase

That hangs over my desk

In the bedroom with the melon painted wall

Of our Santa Fe house


A gentle lady from Acoma

Made this pot

Larger than her other pots

But as pots go

Not very big

Jenny called me Darling

And every August

Would sit with her pots

On a side street off the plaza

Being judged not good enough

For a booth inside the boundary line

Of Indian Market

Maybe she didn’t care

Her smallest pots sat cradled

In the pockets of an egg carton

Selling for two or three dollars

A pot

I loved Jenny

And would buy her tiny pots

To give friends

At home in California

But then she’d choose

An ornament shaped like an owl

Or a plaque with birds on it

And with both hands

Place it into mind

And say

This one’s for you     Darling

Take it

And the price would be the same

As all the little pots

Put together

I’d just bought


One early morning at Indian Market

As the sun climbed over the Sangres

And turned on daylight in the Plaza

Someone came to tell me

Jenny died

Gone in winter from a cancer

That gave her pain

I cried for Jenny

In front of the booths

Facing the Palace of the Governors

Cried in the middle of a crowd of people

Who had never heard her name

Who may have wondered

Over their seven a.m. cup of coffee

“What’s eating her”

Afterwards at home near the beach

I went around collecting Jenny’s pots

From my friends

Gathered them like the last roses

In October

Explained my need

And gave them someone else’s little pots

In exchange

No one seemed to mind

Jenny’s pots live a quiet life

In California

On the middle shelf

Of an old pine corner cabinet

Nine-hundred miles

From the origin of their clay


Now in Santa Fe

Near the top of the bookcase

Jenny’s gift to me

Sits high above my reach

Almost forgotten     unseen

I need to rescue it

Lift it down from there

Bring Jenny back

Into my awareness

Think of her everyday

And if I am grown

From that time

What was beautiful

In Jenny

May become beautiful in me

*Written 1987, from Poets are the bravest, 2001