Clay Figure
by Donna Hilbert

It looks sad:
the clay Madonna
made in fourth grade
to be a gift
for Mother’s Day.
Carefully painted,
but left unglazed
because Mrs. Gray
refused to fire it
with the good
children’s work.
I had nothing else
to offer, so I gave
it to Mom anyway.
For the rest of her life
the unfinished figure
sat on her bookshelf,
wan, like a woman
too busy for make-up.
Now, amidst family
photos, knickknacks,
and books, it sits
on my shelf, homage
to all who are plain,
broken, or marred,
but loved nonetheless
for their scars.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Figure on the Shelf, Long Beach, California, 2016.

NOTE  FROM THE AUTHOR: The poem “Clay Figure,” is from a suite of poems Objects Taken from my Mother’s House, to be included in an as yet unnamed manuscript in progress.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: . Donna Hilbert’s poetry has appeared in a number of Silver Birch Press Anthologies. Her latest book is The Congress of Luminous Bodies, from Aortic Books. The Green Season, World Parade Books, a collection of poetry and prose, is available in an expanded second edition. Earlier books include Transforming Matter, and Traveler in Paradise: New and Selected Poems, from PEARL Editions. Her work is widely anthologized, including Boomer Girls, A New Geography of Poets, Solace in So Many Words, most recently in The Widows’ Handbook (Kent State University Press) and The Doll Collection (Terrapin Books). Her poems can be found monthly at Verse-Virtual.com. More at at www.donnahilbert.com.