An object that cannot speak
is spoken for
by the collector.
Each night before sleep
he wipes the glass shelf that keeps
the old cup safe.
Each morning he does the same.
Today he takes the treasure out
of cage to fix the paint
now faded since
the year he glued together
its body and handle, pieces
found at a shop owned by another
collector, who shared the story
of how her grandmother
found the broken vessel
at a neighbor's house
where no one lived.
The collector tells his visitor
what he was told and all he learned
about the relic, repainting
history as if heard
for the first time by himself,
from how it must've been made
to how it must outlive
his own hands, which evey gesture
is in service of the cup:
soft cloth under the foot;
white light warmed, air cooled;
a final polish on the lip.
A subject that cannot speak
is spoken for
until it is itself no more.
29 July 2023
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