For George Ohr, the Mad Potter of Mississippi
When this bowl cooled on the counter from the kiln,
your family laughed—Crazy garbage! So, you packed away
your creation in excelsior, your hot aqua loves forgotten
in the barn. You often told folks your pots would come to
something, even if you were strange and no good: I have a notion
that I am a mistake. Now, beneath a museum’s Plexiglass display,
your burnt umber finishes crackle dry Mississippi mud, and this lopsided
vessel protrudes sullenly, its thin edges Aquiline, belligerent as a tied-back
mustache. Inside the crock, your sad thumbprints press floral lace
patterns, pushing away all the emptiness in there.
You are not crazy, Mr. Ohr—if only your
family had believed.
Cate McGowan is the author of the story collection, True Places Never Are (Moon City Press, 2015), which won the Moon City Press Short Fiction Award. Her short fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared in Glimmer Train, Crab Orchard Review, Shenandoah, (b)oink, Unbroken, Moon City Review, and Vestal Review. Cate’s been an editor for the Louisville Review and SFWP and is an arts writer for national periodicals. WEB