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By Philip Quirke

The wood-turner shaped a small bowl from yew,

the ochre and brown knots smoothed to a shine.

It has been with us for a long time, so we keep it,

though cracked by a tumble from the dresser.

We are slow to dispose of chipped heirlooms:

that cup from Marrakech, haggled for

one bright day in the square,

the Grecian vase carried home for my mother.

Years ago, the Infant of Prague

smashed against the tile floor of our kitchen.

My father collected the shards,

eyed the shapes, and deftly rebuilt it with glue.

There are times when we fix things,

give them a second life, hold them dear.

Such are our stumbling attempts at love,

embracing and reshaping our imperfections.


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