SELF PORTRAIT WITH
By their tools and pottery we know
far more about the ancient ones
than bones will ever tell.
Although some well-preserved Egyptian queen,
unwrapped, reveals her diet and diseases,
and the official version of her deeds
in hieroglyphic archive fills the walls,
the clues to what she really cared about
are in the treasures with her in the crypt.
Forgotten cities tell their tales in trash,
the broken bits of stuff their human elements
once made, used till they broke, and then discarded.
What will they find, those future archaeologists,
that speaks of who I was and how I lived?
My home is full of me,
some parts by my own skill created,
others brought from far away
because in each of them I recognized
some facet of my soul no eyes had seen.
This vessel—this my Sunday best, from which
my hands pour out their hospitality,
first polishing to let its sturdy grace
and flowing geometric functionality
in gleaming metal tacitly declare
the care beneath my humble offering—
this one may have the strength to last, and though
it tarnish, carry on its burnished face
the seal of this one woman’s hands and heart.
Do you see me, here within the silver?
Will you see me here when I am gone?
Ed Robson 7/12/2015